Stefanos Tsitsipas defies history to capture end-of-year title — ATP Finals

Henrietta Brewer
November 18, 2019

Stefanos Tsitsipas confirmed his meteoric rise into the highest echelon of men's tennis by battling back to beat Austrian Dominic Thiem 6-7 (6) 6-2 7-6 (4) in a compelling title duel at the ATP Finals on Sunday.

The powerful one-handed backhands were out in force from both players in the tie-break, but it was a terrible, wafted forehand from Thiem which handed Tsitsipas the initiative, and a memorable victory was wrapped up in two hours and 34 minutes.

The 21-year-old Greek bounced back from dropping a tight first set by racing out to a 4-0 lead in the second, and then held off the Austrian's comeback in the third.

Acknowledging he had the benefit of having a supportive crowd behind him Tsitsipas also said it was like there was "an army behind him". "Holding this trophy right now feels unbelievable..." I have never received so much support in a stage like that, ever. "I honestly don't feel anything, because it's too many emotions to feel something". "Overall, the atmosphere this week was unbelievable", the ATP quoted Tsitsipas as saying. And he becomes the just the second player this century win the event in his debut after Grigor Dimitrov two years ago.

"I have no clue how I played so well in the second set", said Tsitsipas, the youngest victor of the tournament since Lleyton Hewitt in 2001. I have no idea. I didn't give him many options to play within the second set. "I had some good spells, but the spells where things were not working well, they were pretty bad".

"My combating spirit and me repeatedly trying to push myself to enact better obtained me there within the tip". "I was a break up, I couldn't manage to hold it. Things were decided in the tiebreak and I am so relieved by this outstanding performance and fight that I gave out on the court". It is a dream come true and the best way to end this match. He played great throughout the whole tournament. "I mean actually we both deserve it, but there is only one victor in tennis". Very attractive technique, as well.

"Rafa said it in the past: I'm not playing to win the tournament; I'm playing to win every single match that I'm about to go and play. I really hope that we're going to have a lot of big matches coming the two of us".

"The thing that we have, the "Big Three" dominating in the grand slams the last couple of years makes it really hard for us because someone needs to get the job done to defeat them [in the] early rounds because once they get deep into a tournament they tend, as we saw, over the years to get better and play better, feel better", he said.

The third-seed, Tsitsipas, has undergone a massive transition in the last four years.

And with the Big 3 not getting any younger, the clock continues to tick. "We are all playing great tennis". I grew up watching Roger here at the ATP Finals and Wimbledon and other finals.

"I believe I'm really close to being crowned a Grand Slam champion", he said, after his 6-7 (6/8), 6-2, 7-6 (7/4) triumph in London on Sunday.

He netted with a backhand to hand Tsitsipas the set 6-2. Thiem will end at a year-end best No. 4 and took home $1,302,000.

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