Dominic Thiem weathered some of Stefanos Tsitsipas’ best tennis on Sunday to win his fourth title of the season 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 and further pad his hard-court resume at the China Open in Beijing.Tsitsipas and Thiem faced off five times last year (Thiem led FedEx ATP Head2Head series 3-2) and endured bruising baseline battles during their three clay-court matchups. But Sunday’s final was nearly the opposite as both were keen to attack from the back of the court and charge forward, even serving and volleying on big points.
They combined for 58 net points, (Thiem: 17/25; Tsitsipas: 19/33), and the final featured more than a few cat-and-mouse points at net that had the Beijing crowd roaring.
Tsitsipas broke in the eighth game of the opener before serving it out. The two, after trading breaks early in the second, were on serve until the eighth game when Thiem erased three break points that would have given Tsitsipas a chance to serve out the match.
But instead, the Greek was down 4-5, 30/40, and a Thiem backhand pass clipped the net and landed in, evening the final for the Austrian. Tsitsipas never recovered. From 4-4 in the second to 5-0 in the third, Thiem won seven straight games and eventually served out the final.
“I was so close. Literally one point from getting a break, serving for the championship. I just did the wrong thing. I went back, wanted to take some time, in which he played smart. He serve and volleyed,” Tsitsipas said.
The 21-year-old Tsitsipas was looking to add to his ATP Race To London tally with the third title of his season. But the Greek, with 3,370 points, is still currently in sixth place in the Race and next in line to qualify after the fifth-placed Thiem secured his spot on Saturday. The top eight in the Race will compete at the season-ending Nitto ATP Finals, to be held 10-17 November at The O2 in London.
“It’s my first good tournament after a while. I just need to stay concentrated and not think too big of myself this week,” said Tsitsipas, who had lost five of his past six matches before Beijing. “But I have more tournaments to play. Doing well there, too, would prove that I can be consistent.”
Tsitsipas will receive 300 ATP Rankings points and $364,615 in prize money. Thiem earns 500 ATP Rankings points and $733,790 in prize money.