Previous history would matter little when Novak Djokovic plays Dominic Thiem in the first semi-final of the ATP Finals on Saturday afternoon.
Novak Djokovic holds head-to-head lead over Dominic Thiem
The Serb holds a comfortable 7-4 lead over the Austrian in head-to-head battles. However, one suspects it won’t have a bearing on the outcome of the last-four tie.
Though trailing in the head-to-head count, Thiem beat Djokovic at the ATP Finals last year.
Hence, the Serb would be wary of an encore as he goes to battle at the spectator-less O2 Arena on Saturday.
Djokovic started off his campaign with a facile win over Diego Schwartzman.
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) November 20, 2020
Novak’s topsy-turvy ATP Finals campaign
However, his game strangely fell away in the straight-set loss to Daniil Medvedev. The tall Russian bossed the second round-robin tie from the word go to win 6-3, 6-3.
Read More: Novak Djokovic Outlasts Alexander Zverev to Qualify for the Semi-Finals of ATP Finals 2020
The match statistics showed how much the Serb struggled to impose himself on the big Russian.
“To all the tennis fans: We miss you very much.” ❤️ @DjokerNole#NittoATPFinals pic.twitter.com/9y5KojVU8s
— ATP Tour (@atptour) November 20, 2020
Djokovic had more unforced errors to his name and his first-serve percentage was also down 63%. The Serb couldn’t capitalize on the single break-point he had in the entire game.
However, Medvedev scored 3 out of 8. Though he improved on his stats marginally in his win over German Alexander Zverev on Friday, Djokovic didn’t tick all the boxes.
His first-serve percentage hovered around 67%, while he won only 16 receiving points to the Russian’s 24.
Thiem has the edge over the Serb on current form
Thiem, on current form, will hold a slight edge over the Serb.
The Austrian played splendidly well to ground out a tough three-set win over defending champion Stefanos Tsitsipas in the opening game.
The reigning US Open champion then aced the test of nerves against Rafael Nadal in a tense 7-6 (9-7), 7-6 (7-4) finish in his second round-robin tie.
So, expect Thiem to hold no pre-match jitters when he battles the top-seed on Saturday. The fatigue factor would also worry the Djokovic contingent ahead of the last-four tie.
The Serb will be in action less than 24 hours after a gruelling 6-3, 7-6 (7-4) finish over Tsitsipas on Friday. Hence, Djokovic might look to attack Thiem’s serve from the outset and score quick points off him.
Thiem, on the other hand, would look to engage the Serb in long rallies and test his stamina and fitness.
However, what’s guaranteed is that both players would look to push their limits and throw everything at each other in this winner-takes-all tie.