Tsitsipas beats Thiem to win ATP Finals title

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LONDON — Stefanos Tsitsipas rallied to beat Dominic Thiem 6-7 (6), 6-2, 7-6 (4) on Sunday to become the youngest ATP Finals champion in 18 years and collect the biggest title of his career.

The 21-year-old Greek bounced back from dropping a tight first set in the final by racing out to a 4-0 lead in the second, and then held off his Austrian opponent’s comeback in the third.

Tsitsipas couldn’t capitalize on another early break and a 3-1 lead in the deciding set but won the last three points of the tiebreaker, clinching the win when Thiem sent a return wide.

He is the youngest champion at the ATP Finals since Lleyton Hewitt in 2001.

Thiem beat both six-time champion Roger Federer and five-time winner Novak Djokovic in the group stage but lost another big final after twice finishing runner-up to Rafael Nadal at the French Open.

It is the fourth year in a row that there is a first-time champion at the ATP Finals, following wins by Andy Murray in 2016, Gregor Dimitrov in 2017 and Alexander Zverev last year.

Earlier, French duo Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert won the doubles title by beating Raven Klaasen of South Africa and Michael Venus of New Zealand 6-3, 6-4.

Novak Djokovic to start 2023 in Adelaide ahead of Australian Open

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MELBOURNE, Australia – Novak Djokovic will open his 2023 campaign in Adelaide as he prepares for a shot at a 10th Australian Open crown a year after having his visa revoked on the eve of his title defense.

The 21-time major winner has been granted a visa by the Australian government and has been listed to play at the Adelaide International, which starts Jan. 1.

Serbia isn’t contesting the inaugural United Cup team competition, leaving Djokovic free to play regular warmup tournaments head of the Jan. 16-29 Australian Open.

He’ll be joined in the men’s draw at Adelaide by Russians Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev, Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada and Andy Murray.

Ons Jabeur, Aryna Sabalenka will headline the women’s draw.

Immigration Minister Andrew Giles last month confirmed Djokovic had been granted a visa to compete in Australia in January. The 35-year-old Serbian had been facing a possible three-year ban after being deported last January over his stance against COVID-19 vaccination.

Djokovic has won the Australian Open a record nine times, including the last three times he played. Rafael Nadal won this year’s title in Djokovic’s absence.

Djokovic was not vaccinated against COVID-19 when he arrived in Melbourne ahead of the 2022 tournament, but Australia has since lifted strict rules for unvaccinated travelers.

Karolina Pliskova reuniting with Sascha Bajin

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Two-time Grand Slam finalist Karolina Pliskova is reuniting with coach Sascha Bajin ahead of the 2023 season.

Pliskova posted on her website and her Twitter account about the move, which comes about six months after she and Bajin stopped working together. The pair originally teamed up in November 2020.

While Bajin was her coach, Pliskova reached the final at Wimbledon in 2021 before losing to champion Ash Barty. Pliskova also was the runner-up at the 2016 U.S. Open, where she defeated Serena Williams in the semifinals before being beat by Angelique Kerber for the trophy.

After splitting from Bajin in July, Pliskova was coached by Leos Friedl. Their results together included a quarterfinal run at the U.S. Open.

Bajin has worked as a coach or hitting partner with several top tennis players, including Grand Slam title winners Williams, Naomi Osaka, Victoria Azarenka and Caroline Wozniacki.

“Thank you for having me back,” Bajin wrote on Twitter. “Let’s go get it.”

Pliskova is a 30-year-old from the Czech Republic who reached No. 1 in the WTA rankings in 2017 and finished this season at No. 31 after going 21-21 with no titles.

Her team also includes fitness specialist Jez Green and physiotherapist Martin Salvador.

Next year’s first Grand Slam tournament, the Australian Open, begins Jan. 16.