Dominic Thiem put his solvency and stamina to the test to survive the mental weight of wasting four match points before surviving number one, Novak Djokovic by (7-5, 6-7 (10) and 7-6 (5).
The Serbian, who remains for the fifth consecutive year without equaling Roger Federer’s six titles, succumbed to a Thiem who finally shows that he has the necessary head to fight for the big titles.
Although he was close to throwing everything away when he did not convert four match points in the tie break of the second round, a mental blow that did not knock him down and that prepared him for a third set where he sold the victory in another tiebreaker. , this time marked by the shipwreck of Djokovic.
TITNICO FROM THE BEGINNING
And that the battle, as promised, was bloody from the beginning, with two players saving their cards and resisting the opponent’s stakes, alternating the 0-30 saves and without smelling the break balls, non-existent during much of the first set.
While Carlos Moy analyzed from the stands the possible rival of Rafael Nadal in the stands, Thiem Y Djokovic they played a choral symphony in which the strength of the Australian was counteracted by the elasticity of the Serbian.
The ‘give and take’ reached a point where even Djokovic clap a big balloon of Thiem, who fell on the line and gave him the point.
But chivalry suddenly vanished when the game after that wonderful blow was followed by a break from Thiem, delivered by a bad volley from Djokovic.
Nicols Mass’s pupil got 6-5 in favor and finished the set with an ‘ace’.
Problems for a Djokovic who has not won here since 2015 and who had already given up the opportunity to match Federer’s six crowns four times.
But the Belgrade was not put into jackal mode. He followed in tow of a Thiem who seemed more complete and who, above all, appeared to be alive.
While he complained, celebrated and raged, Djokovic paced inert. On many occasions crestfallen and looking askance at his bench.
In a favorable situation, one would speak of a legendary concentration, but with the score against it, one could speak of apathy, one of his sins in the first defeat in this tournament against Medvedev.
He needed to see himself on the edge of the abyss to wake up. He saved another breaking ball and carved the first in his favor after an hour and 20 minutes of play, but a long rest devoured it.
How Thiem gobbled up both set points Djokovic had in the twelfth game. The Serb was getting closer, but he ran out of time.
Set opportunities were lost, Thiem forced the tiebreaker and while Djokovic entertained himself in the breaks juggling his racket, the match was gone.
And not without drama. Thiem came back from an adverse 4-2, got on with two match points, lost the first after a great serve from Djokovic and double faulted in the second. Djokovic did not take advantage of the set point in favor, with 7-8 and Thiem again had one on serve, wasted with an open right and another to the rest, also inert.
With four finishing chances thrown, Djokovic turned around. The set was scored 12-10 and sent the fight to the final set.
A sleeve that ran fast. In just half an hour, ten games had been consumed, without a single chance of breaking. When Djokovic was closer, in that eleventh game, with 30-30 on the scoreboard, he threw a long rest and screamed, as he had not done in the whole game.
He did not change the spirit of a Thiem who took the match back to the ‘tie break’, where he had already buried four match points. And he started it the worst way with a double fault. Djokovic scored four consecutive points, but there came the Serbian’s shipwreck.
The Austrian returned the streak with six points in a row and at the fifth match point he signed the ticket for his second final in London, after losing last year to Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Thiem will face the winner of the duel between Daniil Medvedev and Rafael Nadal in the final this Sunday (18:00 GMT).