On Thursday, Matteo Berrettini wrapped up his season with a win over Dominic Thiem in his final round-robin match at the ATP Finals, 7-6 (3), 6-3. The Italian, who was unable to qualify for the semifinals after losing his first two matches, nevertheless avenged last month’s Vienna semifinal loss to the fourth-ranked Austrian.
While Thiem already clinched his semifinal spot on Tuesday after his three-set nail-biter over No. 2-ranked Novak Djokovic, he played this match straight, aiming to finish the round-robin stage with an unblemished record.
“I'm super happy and proud that I reached the semifinals for the first time,” said Thiem. “It was a big goal, but of course it's not enough now.”
Berrettini becomes the 1st Italian man to ever win a match at the year-end championships.— Ravi Ubha (@raviubha) November 14, 2019
Was hardly, then, a dead rubber for him.
Later today, former winners Djokovic and Roger Federer will battle for the other semifinal spot in their 49th encounter.
"I'm excited playing against him," Federer said. "I think I need to focus on my game, what I do best. And regardless of what I need to do, I just hope I play well."
As for Berrettini, he finishes his year with plenty of positive takeaways. Having started it ranked outside the Top 50, he has shot up over 40 spots to end inside the Top 10, thanks to his US Open semifinal run and titles he won in Budapest and Stuttgart.
”I’m really proud of myself, but more for my team, my family, my friends. It’s been an unbelievable season,” Berrettini said. “I didn’t expect to be here at the beginning of the season. I hope to come back here next year.”