Can Dominic Thiem withstand the killer instinct of a hunting Novak Djokovic?
<div><p>The ATP Finals has kicked off with the first two days of competitive action from the penultimate tournament of the year, and we´ve seen a bit of an upset in group Borg in the first batch of matches. Roger Federer got off to a rude awakening, losing to a brilliant Dominic Thiem, making it the second straight year in which he loses his opening matchup (Kei Nishikori in 2018). The Great Swiss looked unsettled throughout the entire match, finding himself errant and unable to find his best game when it mattered in a 5-7, 5-7 defeat. Federer will try to kick on against Matteo Berrettini in his second affair, and the young Italian comes from a loss himself, a heavy one against Novak Djokovic.<br /><br />The big occasion yet again got to him, but to be fair, it was a scintillating performance from the Serb who looks dead set on recapturing the world no. 1 ranking. In this matchup, one would expect Federer to step up his game, but Berrettini should have settled somewhat after getting the debutant nerves out of the way. The Italian has the big hitting game to hang with the 38-year old Federer, but can he find it? If Matteo is firing, I wouldn´t mind the over 22.5 games at 2.08, but with both players having some question marks to answer I´m happy to focus my action elsewhere.</p><p> </p><h2 style="text-align:center"><b>Novak Djokovic vs. Dominic Thiem</b></h2><p style="text-align:center"><a href="https://www.oddsmarket.com/tennis/world/atp/atp-world-tour-finals-men-singles/novak-djokovic-vs-dominic-thiem-3984627/?mtid=126" target="_blank" title="Game Odds"><strong>Tuesday, November 12, London</strong></a></p><p style="text-align:center"><a href="http://a.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=164&a=f339dce1-88de-4994-ab6a-c24e019bdf3b&f=3"><img alt src="https://cmscdn.staticcache.org/assets/image/0003/1348572/WHC_27064_Updated-In-Play-Tennis-Insurance_1280x480NEW.jpg" style="width:100%" /></a></p><h2><br /><b>On a mission</b></h2><p>Novak Djokovic is in a mission. Dead set on recapturing the year-end world no. 1 ranking for a record-tying sixth time, the 32-year old Serb needs close a 640-point gap on Rafael Nadal in order to do so. To do so, he needs at least two round robin victories and to make the final. A quest which got off to a fantastic start as Matteo Berrettini was swiftly brushed aside in the opener. Djokovic displayed his most ruthless self on the day, immediately asserting his authority on return. Despite the world no. 8 landing 71% of his big first serves, he would only win 47% of points behind it. On second serve points, the almost inpenetrable Serbian wall would hold the numbers to a 29% clip for the young Italian. Breaking Berrettini on five occasions, Novak would storm to a 6-2, 6-1 victory in just about an hour.</p><p> </p><h2><b>An all-surface threat</b></h2><p>Long has Dominic Thiem been labeled a clay court-specialist, without being given much credit on any other surface. For many years, criticism was warranted, as the 26-year old Austrian wasn´t able to get his long backswing strokes clicking on the faster surfaces. In recent years however, that´s changed. A testament to the world no. 5´s growth on hard courts has been the three titles scored in Indian Wells, Beijing and Wien. Keeping up that positive momentum, Thiem announced himself a contender here by defeating Roger Federer for the third straight time this season. Defending the corners well from the heavy Swiss artillery, the Austrian was able to get the upper hand in the rallies, and finish off points with aggressive, early forehands. Playing the pressure points with conviction, Dominic was able to break the Federer serve at 5-5 in each set to score the humungous win.</p><p> </p><h2><b>Killer instinct</b></h2><p>This will be the tenth head-to-head matchup between the pair, and it´s actually Thiem who has won three of the last four meetings. However, all those meetings have taken place on a clay court, where the Austrian is only second to Rafael Nadal. All three hard court matchups contested have been won by Djokovic. While Thiem was able to defend well and get the upper hand against the 38-year old Federer, that won´t suffice against an in-form Djokovic. The Serb has the edge over any player on tour on this surface when in form, and he´s playing with serious conviction in order to capture the year-end world no. 1 ranking. When in this kind of mood, it´s almost impossible to get him to miss, and the world´s best returner will always ask serious questions on the opposition´s delivery. Though Thiem will certainly not make things easy, his win over Federer will only have made Djokovic all the more alert. All things considered, it looks set up to be a straight sets affair for the Serb, and I like the under 21.5 games, paying a fine 1.90 at <a href="http://a.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=155&a=6a145d2b-505f-491b-a70e-2f5f31742828&f=1" rel="nofollow" target="_blank" title="A+ Bookmaker">Pinnacle</a> in this affair.<br /><br /><b><i>Best Tennis bet: <a href="http://www.oddsmarket.com/tennis/world/atp/atp-world-tour-finals-men-singles/novak-djokovic-vs-dominic-thiem-3984627/?mtid=126" target="_blank" title="Game Odds">Under 21.5 games at 1.90 (9/10) </a>with [<a href="http://a.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=155&a=6a145d2b-505f-491b-a70e-2f5f31742828&f=1" rel="nofollow" target="_blank" title="A+ Bookmaker">Pinnacle</a>] </i></b><i>1.5u</i></p></div>