Thiem came through two tough rounds before dropping his final round-robin match, but by that time he had clinched the top spot and could afford to let one drop – as well as having the advantage of one day off.
Thiem really came of age in the Australian Open final in Australia, pushing Djokovic all the way, and then repeating that feat at the US Open to come from two sets down to earn his maiden Slam. And it is clear that he has a sense of confidence and swagger.
For Djokovic, he has been here before, and certainly has the experience to get over the line, but he cannot afford the slow starts he had at the start of the tournament. With Thiem having been able to rest up for a day, he will come out aggressive and Djokovic can expect a lot of pace to be coming at him.
In any other year where Djokovic has lost less than a handful of times, you would have to give the edge to the World No. 1 but there is something about Thiem this year that feels something has clicked for the Austrian, but he will have to earn his spot in back to back finals against one of the best all-rounders in the sport.
In another Slam rematch, last year’s US Open heroics spring to mind as Daniil Medvedev closed out an amazing breakthrough summer, and perhaps by the time he arrived in London, he was fatigued.
This year of course, players are a lot more rested, despite the chase to the season-ending finale, and if anything Medvedev has a been the man in form coming into this tournament, battling to the Paris Masters title, and more than making up for his 0-3 debut last year.
He has been impressive so far, and no more so than his dismantling of Djokovic in the group stages. The World No. 1 seemed to struggle to lift his level, and it is safe to say that a rested Rafael Nadal is not going to be starting slow. Nadal’s serving in particular has been very impressive and that could be an area that hurts Medvedev who, despite his height, does not have the most powerful serve.
Medvedev’s movement has much improved, but compared to Nadal he will still look a tad sluggish, and it will be more down to his unpredictability – will we see an underarm serve? If Nadal stands back in the Thames, we may well do!
There is still a long way for Nadal to claim his first season-ending finale crown, but he comes here fresher than he ever has ever been at this stage of the year, and it feels like he has just a little more momentum, again with the benefit of a day off.
Prediction: Nadal in three sets.
Thiem & Djokovic are not before 2pm, with Nadal & Medvedev not before 8pm
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