In the first Group Pete Sampras match at the ATP Finals, Grigor Dimitrov defeated Dominic Thiem, 6-3, 5-7, 7-5. In the second match, David Goffin defeated top-ranked Rafael Nadal, 7-6 (5), 6-7 (4), 6-4. Nadal, who was playing with a knee injury, then withdrew from the tournament.
This one featured yet another meltdown from Thiem, who rallied to tie things up in the second set and then choked it away in the third.
Thiem had broken Dimitrov when the Bulgarian was serving for the match at 5-4 in the third, but he then went on to get broken at love when serving to take a 6-5 lead. From there, Dimitrov would hold to win the match and improve to 1-0 in the group.
For Thiem, this is yet another thing to add to a long list of disappointments that seemed to have started with his match against Juan Martin del Potro at the US Open. Thiem led that one 2-0, but an ill del Potro was able to climb his way back into it and win, 1-6, 2-6, 6-1, 7-6 (1), 6-4.
The 24-year-old has noted that he has had trouble mentally getting over that collapse, and it has certainly showed over the past few months. Since losing to del Potro, the Austrian is just 2-5 and hasn’t made it to the quarterfinal of a single event.
Thiem will need to find a way to regroup quickly, as a loss on Wednesday would surely result in him failing to reach the semis in London.
As for Dimitrov, this event couldn’t have gotten off to a better start. The 26-year-old now has a very realistic chance of advancing to the semis, but he’ll need to find a way to beat either Rafael Nadal or David Goffin.
Dimitrov is an uninspiring 1-10 in his career against Rafa, but he is 3-1 versus Goffin.
UPDATE: David Goffin took on world No. 1 Rafael Nadal in the second singles match of the day. Goffin would win that one in three sets. It was a very sloppy affair, as both players were seemingly playing at nowhere near 100 percent health.
Nadal appeared to have life after saving multiple match points in the second set, but he was unable to regain his form in the third. After losing, Nadal announced that he would not be finishing up the tournament. His 2017 season has now officially come to an end.
Goffin, meanwhile, is now looking good in Group Pete Sampras. At 1-0, he's really only one win away from securing a spot in the semifinals.