Dominic Thiem 4.3, Novak Djokovic 1.29
Due to start at 8:30 am
Djokovic leads their previous matches 7-4. Their last match was at the year end ATP Finals in November. Thiem won on an indoor hard court in a third set tie break. He has won their last 2 matches and also 4 of their last 6. His other 3 wins were all on clay. They have met 3 times on hard courts with Djokovic winning them in straight sets.
Overall results favour Djokovic. He a better hard court game though Thiem also has excellent results on hard courts. Stats for the tournament are quite close but favour Djokovic in every category.
Thiem had a few wobbles in the early rounds but he won his fourth round match with Gael Monfils in straight sets. Next up was Rafa Nadal who Thiem had never beaten on a hard court. Thiem came through an entertaining match in 4 sets. His semi final with Alex Zverev was a nervy affair at times but the Austrian’s mental strength won him a place in the final.
Djokovic lost a set to Jan-Lennard Struff in the first round but has not lost another set since. Diego Schwartzman, Milos Raonic and Roger Federer all kept their sets close. Djokovic has been broken 3 times in the last 5 matches.
Roger Federer showed in the semi final how Djokovic doesn’t like to be rushed. I’m not sure Thiem has the game to play the way Federer did. Federer could only keep it up for a set and still lost in 3 sets. Against Zverev, Thiem dropped back way behind the base line to return serve. He was giving himself a little more time to return the Zverev serve. That won’t work against Djokovic. It leaves Thiem vulnerable to a short ball or to the ball being switched wide the other side. Really Thiem needs Djokovic to have a bad day which he doesn’t often have in the big matches. When Djokovic has under performed in the really big matches it has usually been due to illness or injury.
Despite all that I still think Djokovic is priced too low. It is worth a small lay around 1.20 to 1.25 and remove the liability around 1.40 to 1.50. Back Djokovic if he loses the first set.