By Ros Satar at the O2, London

  • David Goffin [7] def. Dominic Thiem [4] 6-4 6-1
LONDON, UK – No. 4 seed Dominic Thiem bowed out of the Nitto ATP Finals after a drubbing by David Goffin.

 

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David Goffin [7] def. Dominic Thiem [4] 6-4 6-1

With all to play for in Group Pete Sampras, it was the knee-strapped David Goffin who prevailed over grazed-knee Dominic Thiem to book the last semi-final spot at the Nitto ATP Finals.

It looked like it was going to be a very different proposition at the start as Thiem came quickly out of the blocks to jump to a 3-0 lead, but after a sluggish start, Goffin quickly struck back twice in succession to take the advantage, taking the first set comfortably.

After a tumble that saw Thiem struggle with a bang and a graze to his knee, Thiem lost his serve again early in the second set, as a pretty woeful end to the season looked to be galloping towards his vacation time early.

Losing 12 of the next 14 games after his start, Goffin had felt comfortable in the knowledge that he had always found answers against the Austrian, but was surprised the fall-away had been quite so sharp.

Goffin said: “I was a little bit surprised how well he started the match. He was moving well. He used his slice a little bit. He changed the pace. He was good. He started to play well.

“But I knew that I found solution in the past. I knew with my return I can be really aggressive from my return. I knew it was the key to come back. As soon as I came back at 3-All with a good service game, I knew that he was struggling a little bit with his groundstrokes. He was hitting too hard maybe a little bit. He lost his timing in his backhands. He started to think about how to hit the ball.

“I have a small idea how it is when it’s like that (smiling). Yeah, I knew that any second I had to be really solid and don’t miss, to finish the match.”

Photo by Stephen Bartholomew/IPS/REX/Shutterstock | Dominic Thiem (AUT) at the 2017 Nitto ATP Finals, London

For Thiem it has been another less than stellar outing at the season-ending finals. Whereas he qualified far earlier this time around for the event, you have to wonder now whether his schedule has left him under-performing, especially when you regard his record in the second half of the year.

When asked in the past two years, he has insisted that he either has reduced his schedule, or that he does not need to, and even allowing for the fact that clay is his preferred surface so of course his results this year will have been skewed to a solid run on the dirt, he has maintained a place in the Top 10 despite winning just three matches since exiting the fourth round of the US Open, yet Thiem continues to defend his schedule.

Thiem said: “It doesn’t have to do anything with the amount of tournaments. I mean, of course US Open was very painful. Maybe would be easier if I would have won it and go out with more confidence out of this tournament than after this defeat against del Potro.

“But, well, now it’s already long time since that happened. I don’t really have it on my mind. But, yeah, after US Open was not very good. I have to admit it. Today was like the last month, I guess.”

 

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Grigor Dimitrov [6] def. Pablo Carreno Busta [ALT] 6-1

Grigor Dimitrov at the 2017 Nitto ATP Finals, London

Photo by Ella Ling/BPI/REX/Shutterstock | Grigor Dimitrov at the 2017 Nitto ATP Finals, London

Through no fault of anyone, except maybe a dodgy knee, the final match of the round-robin sessions was, to all intents and purposes, a dead rubber. With Grigor Dimitrov already through, alternate Pablo Carreno Busta could have contemplated keeping the Bulgarian out late on court.

From the get go, Dimitrov was focused with one intention clear as day – get on and then off this court as quickly as possible. he ripped through the first set in 22 minutes and it was not as if the Spaniard was not trying, but he was simply not being allowed to get into the match.

Dimitrov started just as quickly in the second set, and some over-stretching sent the Spaniard sprawling over the court, causing him to call for an injury time-out just one game in. Despite a double fault on the resumption and some solid play by Carreno Busta, Dimitrov picked up just where he left off, swiftly jumping out to another commanding lead.

It was all over for the Spaniard in just 59 minutes for the loss of just two games. It was an impressive statement for Dimitrov who has been very solid throughout the whole tournament. On this display he looks sure to carry that on.

The singles and doubles semi-finals will take place on Saturday with play starting at 12pm (GMT)

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