Grigor Dimitrov upsets Dominic Thiem in first round of ATP Finals

Optimistic Rafael Nadal

He lost in three sets to Grigor Dimitrov. This was their 4th meeting, the third of the season (Dominic saved 5 match points in Madrid), and Bulgarian claimed his second win over the Austrian, facing just 2 break point in the entire match and converting 3 out of 8 break chances he created on Dominic's serve to bring the match home.

In the absence of Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray, all eyes are on a potential showdown in London between Nadal and Roger Federer, who started his bid for a seventh ATP Finals title with a straight-sets victory against American Jack Sock on Sunday.

"Every year you learn more about yourself, about the game, about the players", Dimitrov said.

LONDON-Close calls and missed match points have haunted Grigor Dimitrov at times this season. "It's finally starting to kind of, like, come together".

Thiem made his Tour Finals debut Monday.

"There's always a little bit of tension before every match, and especially here, of course, a little bit because of all the atmosphere, arena". The 26-year-old is the first Bulgarian qualifier here in the competition's 48-year history and he admitted on court afterwards that he had struggled to handle the pressure.

Dimitrov broke in the seventh game of the decider to take control once more.

But rather than Dimitrov, Thiem it was who wilted.

A shanked forehand wide gave Thiem a set-clinching break at 6-5 but Dimitrov again pulled ahead in the third, when a sensational drop-volley put him a break and 4-3 up.

"I think the best is yet to come".

"It, for me, was just one of those new experiences that I think I'm going to remember for the rest of my life, I think appreciate for the rest of my life", Dimitrov said.

"It was kind of a similar situation".

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