By Ros Satar at the Nitto ATP Finals in London
- Dominic Thiem  def. Alexander Zverev 
- Zverev: “For the young guys, it’s going to be an exciting year”
- Thiem: “Younger players will make a breakthrough”
LONDON, UK – Dominic Thiem overcame a cold and the defending champion Alexander Zverev to reach the final.
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Dominic Thiem  def. Alexander Zverev 
In the battle of the two friends, it was the older and ultimately wiser Dominic Thiem who ousted defending champion Alexander Zverev. In a game with very few margins, it was Zverev who was knocking at the door the most against a slightly under-the-weather-looking Thiem with a couple of break-points that could not be converted.
It was a tight match of cat and mouse, and it looked to all that it was going to be a tie-breaker but a shaky last game after being so consistent from Zverev gifted Thiem the set. The second set started with absolutely no quarter given by either player ut towards the tail end of the set, there was a sense that Thiem was just emerging the stronger, breaking on is third try, and then denying Zverev twice as he tried to back.
The single break was enough in the second set to clinch a spot in the final for the first time. Sounding a little hoarse in his on-court interview, he admitted that he has gotten used to the faster indoor surfaces, given his win in Vienna and now reaching the final in London.
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Zverev: “For the young guys, it’s going to be an exciting year”
After the round robin, Zverev actually admitted that reaching the semi-finals had been a major achievement, but admitted that his level perhaps had fallen off.
“The match was, I thought, pretty even. Dominic obviously played very good from the baseline. But today I was playing with no returns, actually. I was returning really bad and didn’t put a lot of pressure on his serve. And when I did, he was coming out with good serves, good points. Credits to him. I played a bad game in the second set, and, yeah, that match was over a few games later.”
It has been a challenging year for Zverev with a very public falling out with his agent causing a lot of disruption to his game.
He continued: “I wasn’t happy at all the whole year. Outside the court, on the court. So, to finish the year No. 7 in the world, for me, with all the things that happened to me and with all the things that were happening is actually quite incredible. I didn’t think I would. In that point, you can see it in a very positive way.
“And the other point, of course, I was very disappointing, because I wanted to win more tournaments. I wanted to play better at the big tournaments.
“Actually, after the US Open I started playing much, much better. I hope I can take that into next season, and we will see. I think next year will bring a new Grand Slam champion. We’ll see who that will be, because I think the young guys are playing incredible tennis.
“You know, it can be Daniil, it can be Stefanos, it can be Dominic. I’m in the mix, as well, I hope. We’ll see what next year brings. But I think for the young guys, it’s going to be an exciting year.”
Thiem: “Younger players will make a breakthrough”
Thiem agrees that the tide is turning for the chasing pack.
“I still think so, that we see a new Grand Slam champion next year. I mean, it’s not 100% sure, of course, because the Big 3 are going to be still the favourites, but I think that in one or two events, younger players will make a breakthrough.
“I really hope that I can continue my great level of tennis in 2020, and now I have the feeling that my game is really moving in the right direction. So, after this tournament, I’m looking forward a lot — I mean, first of all, of course, for a time off, but then I’m looking forward a lot to the offseason to improve even more this level of tennis and tennis which is really moving in the right direction. So, I’m very motivated for that, and I really believe that I can have an even better 2020.”
Thiem and Tsitsipas will play the final on Sunday, not before 6pm.
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