Austrian tennis player Dominic Thiem defeated Roger Federer in straight sets on the opening day of the ATP Finals. Thiem completed his third victory over the 20-time Grand Slam champion this season as he went on to defeat Federer 7-5, 7-5 at the O2 Arena in London.
The 26-year-old Austrian had never won his opening group match in his last three previous appearances but exploited the opportunities that came from Federer's erratic play. "It's a normal tournament from here on forward. I'm not allowed to lose anymore," Federer said. "That's how it is every week of the year for the past 20 years, so from that standpoint, there is nothing new."
"I thought he played well. The start definitely didn't help. That put me on the back foot," Federer added. "But I recovered well and I thought the match was pretty even for a long period of time. I felt that I had my chances. Didn't feel like I was outplayed or anything. Just maybe those first-match hiccups, not hitting your spots on the serve when you need to, getting into trouble early in the service games, which maybe doesn't happen later on in the tournament."
Dominic Thiem was respectful in his post-match interview. He said - "It was a great performance. My first opening win here at the finals. It's every single time overwhelming and breathtaking to enter this arena, especially if it's packed like that. I think we had a good and close match and of course, it's always something special to beat Roger as he is an absolute legend. I love to play against him and learn a lot, so thanks a lot."
Federer will now face Matteo Berrettini on Tuesday. As things stand, the 38-year-old tennis star has to win the remaining two games of the round-robin action to advance to the next round. For that, the Swiss giant has to beat Novak Djokovic in one of the fixtures. Federer and the Serbian tennis star have earlier clashed against each other in this year's Wimbledon's epic final which the 32-year-old won after a five-set thriller.
Meanwhile, Djokovic trounced Italian tennis player Matteo Berrettini with ease in his opening Group Bjorn Borg match as the second seed won 6-2, 6-1.