Dominic Thiem had a chance to move to the doorstep of the Nitto ATP Finals title on Sunday evening.

With Thiem already leading by a set, it was 3-3, 30/40 in the second set, when Medvedev was forced to hit a second serve. The Russian made a daring play by serving and volleying. Thiem, who moved off the court to run around his backhand, struck a heavy topspin forehand return down the line that Medvedev barely scraped over the net. With the entire Ad court open, the Austrian rushed forward toward a seemingly routine putaway, but he shoveled a forehand well wide.

“Of course maybe the match… would have had a different outcome if I converted that break point,” Thiem said. “But still, it was not an easy shot. I mean, he played serve and volley. Hit a pretty good short volley. I was in full sprint and had the ball under the net, so it was not that easy, that shot. Of course I should put it in the court, but still I have not so much to regret.”

The question is, what went wrong?

When Thiem struck his forehand return, he had Medvedev in big trouble. The Russian did not guess a side, and he even split-stepped a moment too late, forcing him to lunge for his forehand volley, which looped high over the net and landed about midway into Thiem’s service box. Getting it back into play short in the court was a great effort in itself, and likely the best he could have hoped for in the situation.

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