Dimitrov labors past Thiem at ATP Finals

Thiem is hoping to right the ship in London

Thiem is hoping to right the ship in London

And the Bulgarian justified Toni Nadal's concern with some flashes of brilliance as he overcame Dominic Thiem 6-3, 5-7, 7-5 in his debut match at the event on Monday.

The sixth seed got off to the ideal start, winning his opening round-robin match in the Pete Sampras Group as he was able to keep his nerves in check to beat the Austrian 6-3 5-7 7-5.

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The 26-year-old Bulgarian broke his Austrian rival three times to win the match.

"I'm not going to lie, I was pretty nervous in my first match out here", Dimitrov said.

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Instead of sending the match in the tie break, Dominic played an very bad service game to get broken again and fell 6-5 behind, hitting costly double faults to reduce his chances, and Dimitrov sealed the deal with a solid hold in game 12.

Ranked a career-high sixth in the world, Dimitrov took a break midway through the opening set and served out but Thiem levelled when his opponent wavered at the end of the second. In a tight second set, sixth seed Dimitrov earned a potentially decisive break point in the 11th game but Thiem, whose service numbers improved significantly, held firm, lashing a forehand victor down the line and edging ahead 6-5.

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The tournament debutant, who had displayed a much more rounded game with his frequent visits to the net, got to within two points of victory when serving for the match at 5-4 only for the nerves to kick in again and a missed backhand allowed Thiem a way back into the match.

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