An amazing first half of 2016 has Dominic Thiem headed to the year-end championship for the first time in his career. Thiem secured a place in the upcoming World Tour Finals when Tomas Berdych lost to Andy Murray 7-6(9), 7-5 in the quarterfinals of the BNP Paribas Masters on Friday night.
The 23-year-old dropped his Paris opener at the hands of Jack Sock, after which he was forced to play the waiting game to find out his London fate. Berdych, David Goffin, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, and Roberto Bautista Agut all had an opportunity to overtake Thiem when this week began. With Goffin and Bautista Agut having already lost prior to Friday only Berdych and Tsonga stood in Thiem’s way. In addition to Berdych’s setback against Murray, Tsonga–who had to capture the Paris title in order to qualify for the World Tour Finals–succumbed to Milos Raonic 6-2, 7-6(4).
“I’m so happy to have made it to London, also thanks to Andy and Milos who helped me out,” Thiem said. “It’s been a dream since my childhood to qualify for the ATP Finals. In the past two years it became a goal and to achieve it at such a young age it is amazing, 20 years after the only other Austrian player (Thomas Muster). It’s going to be a great experience to compete against the best players in the world. I look forward to spending a week with them in London.”
Thiem will have to get his game back in shape in a hurry if he wants it to be a positive week on the court. The eighth-ranked Austrian is a mere 9-10 in his last 19 matches dating back to the second round Wimbledon.
He was, though, on fire earlier in the year. Thiem won titles in Buenos Aires, Acapulco, Nice, and Stuttgart while finishing runner-up in Munich. He also advanced to semis at the Rio Open and French Open.
Theim rounds out a London field that also features Murray, Novak Djokovic, Stan Wawrinka, Kei Nishikori, Milos Raonic, Gael Monfils, and Marin Cilic.
“We look forward to welcoming the best eight qualified singles players and doubles teams of the year back to the O2 for another spectacular season-ending tournament,” ATP CEO Chris Kermode commented. “These players have all had outstanding seasons and fully deserve their place at our season finale. And with the year-end No.1 ranking still on the line in both singles and doubles, the stakes are as high as ever ahead of this year’s event.”