World Tour Finals preview and prediction: Thiem vs. Dimitrov

Grigor Dimitrov will be appearing in the World Tour Finals for the first time in his career when he takes the court against Dominic Thiem on Monday afternoon.

Dimitrov may not be familiar with the O2 Arena in London, but he has plenty of recent experience with Thiem on the other side of the net. The Bulgarian trails the head-to-head series 2-1 after splitting a pair of 2017 encounters. Dimitrov got the job done 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 before Thiem prevailed 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(9) on the red clay of Madrid. The Austrian also scored a 7-5, 6-2 victory last season in Acapulco.

Thanks to a blistering start, Dimitrov’s first-ever year-end championship qualification was never in much doubt. The world No. 6 went an amazing 16-1 in his first 17 matches, a stretch that saw him capture titles in Brisbane and Sofia while also advancing to the Australian Open semifinals. Dimitrov eventually lifted the most important winner’s trophy of his career at this summer’s Cincinnati Masters. His post-U.S. Open swing has been decent, with a semifinal in Beijing, a quarterfinal in Shanghai, a runner-up finish in Stockholm, and a third-round showing in Paris.

Unsurprisingly, Thiem’s 2017 campaign has progressed in much different fashion. The world No. 4 came out of the gates slow on hard courts, caught fire on clay, and then slumped upon his return to the hard stuff this summer and fall. Thiem–a champion in Rio de Janeiro, runner-up in Barcelona and Madrid, and semifinalist at the French Open–is a dreadful 8-10 in his last 18 tournament matches. He is 2-5 in five events during the fall swing.

A massive edge in current form goes to Dimitrov, but Thiem should at least be able to make this one competitive. The 24-year-old also stumbled into London last year but managed to push Djokovic to three sets in addition to a round-robin win over Gael Monfils.

Pick: Dimitrov in 3

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