London: Dominic Thiem produced a scintillating display of attacking tennis to beat Novak Djokovic and qualify for the last four at the ATP Finals on Tuesday, leaving the Serbian facing a shoot-out against Roger Federer.
In the standout match so far at London’s O2 Arena, the Austrian fifth seed took the fight to the world No. 2, recovering from losing the first set to triumph 6-7, 6-3, 7-6.
Earlier, Federer put himself back into the mix at the end-of-season event with a 7-6, 6-3 win against Italian debutant Matteo Berrettini in their round-robin clash.
Federer and Djokovic will face off on Thursday in a repeat of the Wimbledon final to determine who else will progress from Group Bjorn Borg.
Thiem was forced to play high-stakes tennis against the 16-time Grand Slam winner, taking the breath away with some of his inside-out forehands and single-handed backhands
Forced to play on the limit, he hit 50 winners compared to Djokovic’s tally of 27 but also racked up 44 unforced errors.
“I practised all my life, all my childhood for this,” said Thiem. “It was incredible. Novak was in great shape and I had to do something special. I stayed in the match the whole time, came from a set down, I remained offensive, stuck to my game and I’m in the semi-final.”
Djokovic is hunting a sixth ATP Finals title to pull level with Federer’s record and is also seeking to pip Rafael Nadal to the year-end number one ranking.