Dominic Thiem celebrates after thrilling victory over Novak Djokovic. Photo ATP Tour
Dominic Thiem earned a semi-finalist spot at the ATP Finals 6-7(5), 6-3, 7-6(5) over Novak Djokovic.
The Serb was unable to clinch he last-four place as the drama level of the eight-man competition lifted.
Djokovic, a five-time year-end winner, must now wait until Thursday to find out his fate at the tournament.
Thiem, ranked fifth, is the first player from Austria to get this far at the annual showdown.
Djokovic needs to reach the Sunday finals if he is to win his duel for year-end No. 1 with Rafael Nadal.
Thiem won with breaks on six of nine chances as Thiem backed up his Roland Garros semi-final defeat of Djokovic, who has now lost four of his last five matches against Thiem.
Roger Federer steadied his tennis juggernaut on Tuesday, with the six-time year-end champion producing a 7-6(2), 6-3 defeat of Matteo Berrettini to stay in semi-final contention at the ATP Finals.
The Swiss bounced back in London after a straight-sets loss on Sunday to Dominic Thiem, with Federer’s victory in 80 minutes all but eliminating the first Italian to play the season wrapup since 1978.
Victory insured that Federer would not lose back-to-back group matches for the first time in his career.
His impeccable year-end record boasts at least two group wins in 15 of 16 prior appearances – the only exception being in 2008 when Andy Murray delivered the fatal blow to knock him out at the round-robin stage.
Three Italians have played at season-wrapup tournaments – but none have ever won a group match with 0-3 records to Corrado Barzzutti and Andriano Panatta.
Berrettini, hammered by Djokovic in Sunday’s first match of the tournament, now stands 0-2 with one more group match to go on Thursday.
Federer didn’t have it all his own way against Berrettini, with the 23-year-old Italian saving two match points before finally folding.
Federer won 10 of 11 point from late in the opening set through the winning tiebreaker.
The Swiss will play his last group match against Djokovic in a re-run of the Wimbledon final of last July won by the Serb after Federer held two match points.
Federer is already focussing on revenge against Djokovic after losing to him at the All England club
“I think it’s (the finals defeat) all flushed away from my side. A lot of water has gone under the bridge since then now,” he said.
“It’s good for me to play him again, and maybe that all helps to get a chance to get him back or whatever it is, but at the end of the day, I’m here for the World Tour Finals and not because of the Wimbledon finals.
“I’m personally excited to play against Novak on Thursday.”