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Nitto ATP Tennis From The 02 Arena London Ricky’s Preview & Pick for Thiem vs. Dimitrov

Ricky’s preview and pick for Monday afternoon at the World Tour Finals: Thiem vs. Dimitrov


By Ricky Dimon


Grigor Dimitrov will be playing in the Nitto ATP World Tour Finals for the first time when he battles Dominic Thiem on the second day of round-robin competition on Monday afternoon.


Dimitrov may not be familiar with the O2 Arena in London, but he has plenty of recent experience against Thiem. The Bulgarian trails the head-to-head series 2-1 after splitting a pair of 2017 meetings. Dimitrov scored a 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 victory at the Brisbane International before Thiem won 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(9) on the clay courts of Madrid. The world No. 4 also prevailed 7-5, 6-2 last year in Acapulco.


Thanks to a scorching hot start, Dimitrov’s first-ever WTF qualification was never in much doubt. He went an awesome 16-1 in his first 17 matches, a stretch that saw him win titles in Brisbane and Sofia while also making a run to the Australian Open semis. The world No. 6 eventually captured the biggest title of his career at the Cincinnati Masters. Dimitrov’s post-U.S. Open performance has been solid, with a semifinal showing in Beijing, a quarterfinal performance in Shanghai, a runner-up result in Stockholm, and a third-round finish at the Rolex Paris Masters.


Not surprisingly, Thiem’s season has progressed in much different fashion. The Austrian came out of the gates slow on hard courts, caught fire on clay, and then slumped upon his return to hard courts this summer and fall. Thiem–a champion in Rio de Janeiro, runner-up in Barcelona and Madrid, and semifinalist at Roland Garros–is a brutal 8-10 in his last 18 tournament matches. He is 2-5 in five events during this fall swing.


A considerable edge in current form goes to Dimitrov, but Thiem will likely make this one competitive. He also stumbled into London on a losing streak last fall but pushed Djokovic to three sets in addition to a round-robin victory over Gael Monfils.


He feels fresher and more confident this time around.


“There was a lot of pressure on me last year,” Thiem reflected. “It was something completely new for me; I was nervous. It’s very different this year. I qualified as the fourth player, so I’m not the last player. It feels better. I think I can enjoy it more this year. I’m not really tired. Last year I was, for sure.


Pick: Dimitrov in 3


Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

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