Tsitsipas beats Thiem in three sets to win ATP Finals title

Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece reacts after defeating Austria's Dominic Thiem to win their ATP World Finals singles final tennis match at the O2 arena in London, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019. (Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP)

LONDON — Stefanos Tsitsipas rallied to beat Dominic Thiem 6-7 (6), 6-2, 7-6 (4) on Sunday to become the youngest ATP Finals champion in 18 years and collect the biggest title of his career.

The 21-year-old Greek bounced back from dropping a tight first set in the final by racing out to a 4-0 lead in the second, and then held off his Austrian opponent’s comeback in the third.

Tsitsipas couldn’t capitalize on another early break and a 3-1 lead in the deciding set but won the last three points of the tiebreaker, clinching the win when Thiem sent a return wide.

"I have no clue how I played so well in the second set," Tsitsipas said. "It was pretty frustrating for me to be playing with such nerves for the first time in such a big event. I was a break up (in the third set), I couldn’t manage to hold it. Things were decided in the tiebreaker and I am so relieved by this outstanding performance and fight that I gave out on the court."

Tsitsipas, who was making his first appearance at the season-ending tournament for the world’s top eight players after a breakthrough season, beat six-time champion Roger Federer in Saturday’s semifinals.

He is the youngest champion at the ATP Finals since Lleyton Hewitt in 2001.

Thiem beat both six-time champion Roger Federer and five-time winner Novak Djokovic in the group stage but lost another big final after twice finishing runner-up to Rafael Nadal at the French Open.

"It was so close," Thiem said. "But that’s how it is in tennis."

It is the fourth year in a row that there is a first-time champion at the ATP Finals, following wins by Andy Murray in 2016, Gregor Dimitrov in 2017 and Alexander Zverev last year.

Earlier, French duo Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert won the doubles title by beating Raven Klaasen of South Africa and Michael Venus of New Zealand 6-3, 6-4.

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