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Medvedev Beats Schwartzman, Carries Momentum Into Nadal SF Showdown

  • Posted: Nov 20, 2020

What a difference a year makes. Daniil Medvedev went winless at last season’s Nitto ATP Finals, but on Friday, he completed a perfect 3-0 run through Group Tokyo 1970.

Medvedev defeated tournament debutant Diego Schwartzman 6-3, 6-3 to carry plenty of confidence into the semi-finals, in which he will play World No. 2 Rafael Nadal in a rematch of the 2019 US Open final.

“I was playing great in the two previous matches. I think it is always good to stay undefeated for the confidence. I wanted to win the match, so I am really happy that I have done it,” said Medvedev in an on-court interview. “I was serving really good today, so that helped me a lot throughout all the match.”


Only three players have won the season finale the year after making a winless debut at the prestigious event. Medvedev is now just two victories from becoming the fourth player in that elite group. Nadal leads their ATP Head2Head series 3-0, including a stunning comeback from 5-1 down in the third set of their clash at last year’s Nitto ATP Finals.

“I like playing all of the [Big] Three. When I was so young, starting to hold the racquet and just started to be interested in tennis… I started to see Grand Slams,” Medvedev said. “First it was Roger winning everything, then Rafa came and started to make his mark and then it was Novak. It is a great pleasure to play against all of them and I am really looking forward to tomorrow.” 

The recent Rolex Paris Masters champion is known for his unflappable defence, which he used to frustrate five-time champion Novak Djokovic in a straight-sets victory on Wednesday. But against the Argentine, he played with atypical aggression to triumph after one hour and 14 minutes. 

Medvedev, the first Russian to compete in the Nitto ATP Finals in consecutive years since 2009 titlist Nikolay Davydenko (2005-09), has not yet lost a set. He is the only player to go undefeated in group play.


The 24-year-old drives opponents crazy by playing from well behind the baseline and putting them in awkward positions with his defence. But he signaled new intentions on Centre Court against Schwartzman, breaking for a 2-1 lead in the first set with a forehand winner down the line. 

Medvedev continued to attack throughout the match, frequenting the net. That left Schwartzman struggling for answers, and he was never able to make enough in-roads with his serve to trouble the World No. 4. The debutant only won 58 per cent of his service points and was broken three times.

“[Going] 0-3 in your first Masters doesn’t mean anything. I can say [that] with my experience that I had last year,” Medvedev said. “Hopefully he can qualify for the next one.”


Medvedev dominated with his first serve, winning 88 per cent of those points. The three-time ATP Masters 1000 champion also saved the two break points he faced.

The Russian now leads Schwartzman 5-0 in their ATP Head2Head series. He has won 10 of their 11 sets, and all 10 sets he has won have come by a margin of 6-4 or greater.

Schwartzman finishes the best season of his career with a 25-15 record. It was a year of firsts for the Argentine, who cracked the Top 10 of the FedEx ATP Rankings and reached his first Masters 1000 final among other accomplishments.

“I’m really proud because I did many great things in many different weeks this year. But also, I have the feeling in my body that I have to improve, because I want to be here again,” Schwartzman said. “But to be here again, I have to do better.”

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Melzer/Roger-Vasselin Into Semi-finals, Granollers/Zeballos Retire

  • Posted: Nov 20, 2020

Seventh seeds Jurgen Melzer and Edouard Roger-Vasselin have secured their spot at the top of Group Bob Bryan after Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos retired in the opening set, 6-6, (1/0) [ret].

Roger-Vasselin and Melzer were in control of their fate in Group Bob Bryan, but had a tough task ahead as they needed to win in straight sets to book their place in the last four.

Granollers and Zeballos took control of the match at the start, breaking early at 2-1 and leading for most of the opening set. They even served to take the set, but were broken as the seventh seeds came roaring back and levelled the score at 5-5.

Granollers, who had been struggling with a shoulder injury that required a medical time out late in the set, found himself unable to continue and retired from the match one point into the first-set tie-break.

As a result, Melzer and Roger-Vasselin soared to the top of Group Bob Bryan, sealing their spot in the semi-finals as they continued their search for their first Nitto ATP Finals title. Granollers and Zeballos also advanced to the semi-finals. Mate Pavic and Bruno Soares have been eliminated from the tournament.


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Pavic/Soares Claim The Win, Now Comes The Wait

  • Posted: Nov 20, 2020

Mate Pavic and Bruno Soares increased their chances of reaching the Nitto ATP Finals semi-finals on Friday with a 6-7(2), 6-3, 10-8 win against John Peers and Michael Venus.

The top seeds won 83 per cent of first-serve points (33/40) to end Group Bob Bryan with a 2-1 record. The US Open champions will have to wait until the evening session to find out if they have qualified for the last four at The O2. Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos will meet Jurgen Melzer and Edouard Roger-Vasselin in the final Group Bob Bryan match. As a result of Pavic and Soares’ Match Tie-break win, Granollers and Zeballos have qualified for the semi-finals. The only scenario where Pavic and Soares do not join the Spanish-Argentine duo in the last four is if Melzer and Roger-Vasselin win this evening’s match in two sets.

”To be honest, I don’t really know what we need [this evening],” said Soares in an on-court interview. “We are going to watch because we love doubles, we love entertainment. I think we did what we had to do, which is win the match. Right now, it is not in our hands anymore. We have just got to wait and hopefully we come back to play another match tomorrow.”

Pavic and Soares improved to 22-11 as a team this year after 89 minutes. The top seeds, who won their maiden Grand Slam trophy as a team at the US Open in September, are seeking their second title of 2020.

Pavic and Soares broke serve in the opening game with sharp returning and won their first 16 points on serve to establish a 5-3 lead. But Peers and Venus, who needed to win in straight sets to keep their qualification hopes alive, made a remarkable comeback. Venus saved four consecutive set points with powerful serving and Peers saved two more in the following game to level the score at 5-5. The sixth seeds rode the momentum into the tie-break and converted their first set point when Pavic failed to control a backhand return.

When Pavic and Soares were asked in the on-court interview about what they were saying to each other after failing to convert six set points in the first set, Soares gave an honest response.

“Let’s book the flight home, that is what we said” said the Brazilian. “[It was] another tough set that we lost. We played extremely well [in the] first set and it is tough to lose a set like this. It was quite a similar story the other day. I think we both stayed calm… tried to keep the cool. We were both pretty upset with the first set and I think we managed to do that.”


Pavic and Soares recovered from the disappointment of dropping the first set, as they extracted volley errors to earn break point at 2-1 in the second set. Soares converted the pair’s first opportunity with a backhand winner down the line. Pavic held his nerve at the net to clinch the second set on a deciding point at 5-3.

In the Match Tie-break, Pavic and Soares rallied from 5/7 by winning five of the next six points to earn their second win of the week. Pavic converted their second match point with a swinging ace out wide.

Peers and Venus finish Group Bob Bryan with a 0-3 record. The sixth seeds end their 2020 ATP Tour season with three trophies and a 22-13 record. Peers and Venus claimed titles in Dubai, Hamburg and Antwerp earlier this year.

Did You Know?
Pavic and Soares are one of three teams who can still finish as the year-end No. 1 pair in the FedEx ATP Doubles Team Rankings.

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ATP And Infosys Extend Digital Innovation Partnership

  • Posted: Nov 20, 2020

The ATP and Infosys, a global leader in next-generation digital services and consulting, have today announced the renewal of their highly successful partnership for a further three years. The agreement will see Infosys continue as Global Technology Services Partner and Digital Innovation Partner of the ATP, through 2023.

As the technology partner of the ATP since 2015, Infosys has been instrumental in supporting ATP’s development of key digital assets and infrastructure, including ATP PlayerZone, ATP Stats Leaderboards, ATP Second Screen, and the ATP app. Through the extended partnership, Infosys will continue to develop and accelerate innovations in advanced technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Data Analytics and cloud, leveraging its dedicated tennis platform to deliver diverse experiences for players, media, and fans across the world.

Through Infosys ATP Stats, ATP Performance Zone, and Win-Loss index, the ATP will continue to focus on data driven insights for match statistics. Coupled with the popular editorial series, Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers, fans will gain deeper insight into tennis through comprehensive game analysis. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Nitto ATP finals, Infosys and ATP have created Flashback 50, a data driven web experience to statistically compare the champions across five decades of the Nitto ATP Finals over the past 50 tournament editions.

“Infosys is a leading global brand and one which has been instrumental in helping ATP innovate and maximise efficiency through technology,” said Massimo Calvelli, ATP CEO. “Most importantly, these exciting innovations have enhanced fans’ experience and interaction with our sport. We are thrilled to extend our partnership and look forward to seeing what we can continue achieving together.”

Pravin Rao, Infosys COO, said: “The ATP Tour was our first partnership in the sport of tennis, and together with ATP we’ve continued to push the boundaries of how fans, players and the media are involved and engaged in the game. As we take rapid strides in our sixth year partnering together, our focus remains on supporting ATP’s vision to reimagine the game, leveraging data to deliver unique insights and digital experiences through next generation technologies.”

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The Doubles Teams That Still Have A Chance At Year-End World No. 1 Are…

  • Posted: Nov 20, 2020

The year-end No. 1 spot in the FedEx ATP Doubles Team Rankings is still up for grabs at the Nitto ATP Finals, and three teams still have a shot at earning the distinction. Two teams — Mate Pavic/Bruno Soares and Rajeev Ram/Joe Salisbury — can clinch year-end No. 1 by winning the title, while Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos must finish the week as undefeated champions just to have a chance. looks at the scenarios for the three teams still in the running for year-end No. 1.


Pavic/Soares Will Finish Year-End No. 1 If:
– They win the event
– They make the final AND Ram/Salisbury lose their semi-final on Saturday
– Do not need to win on Friday to make the semi-finals
– They win their match on Friday AND Ram/Salisbury lose their semi-final on Saturday AND Granollers/Zeballos lose one more match

Ram/Salisbury Will Finish Year-End No. 1 If:
– They win the event
– They make the final AND Pavic/Soares do not make the final
– Pavic/Soares do not win another match AND Granollers/Zeballos lose one more match
– In this scenario Ram/Salisbury lose their match on Saturday as well

Granollers/Zeballos Will Finish Year-End No. 1 If:
-They are the undefeated champions AND both Pavic/Soares and Ram/Salisbury do not make the final

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How Nadal Embraced 'A Tough Fight'

  • Posted: Nov 20, 2020

Rafael Nadal doesn’t shy away from a battle. That was the case once again on Thursday night at the Nitto ATP Finals against defending champion Stefanos Tsitsipas.

The Spaniard double faulted to lose the second set, and let slip an early break advantage in the decider. But instead of folding, the legendary lefty played some of his best tennis to run away with the match and book his spot in the semi-finals at The O2 in London.

“It’s always a good feeling when you are playing well and you’re playing against the best players of the world,” Nadal said. “You know you’re going to be [in] a tough fight. That’s what happened tonight. I was able to find a way to win. [I’m] very happy.”

Last year, Nadal beat Tsitsipas in another three-setter to close out round-robin play at the season finale. But despite finishing with a 2-1 record, he did not advance to the semi-finals because of other results in their group. This time, Nadal knew he controlled his own destiny.

“[It was] an important match for me. Last year I was not able to be in the semi-finals, winning two matches, too. This year I am,” Nadal said. “I needed to win that match, and I did it. I had a good reaction later [in the match], but I was playing I think a great level of tennis for almost two sets.”

The Nitto ATP Finals trophy is the biggest title missing from Nadal’s resume. But the Spaniard is not saying this is necessarily the best level he has shown at the event. He reached the championship match at The O2 in 2010 and 2013.

“I was playing good last year too… I am playing well, I think. I have one more day tomorrow to keep practising,” Nadal said. “I am in a good feeling, but I played some great tournaments too in the past. It’s true I never won, but sometimes you play well and you don’t win. That’s normal in this sport, because the other players are very good, too.”

Nadal will face an opponent against whom he made an epic comeback last year at this tournament. In 2019, Daniil Medvedev let slip a 5-1 lead in the third set against Nadal. But this time, Medvedev is perhaps in better form. The Russian, who recently won the Rolex Paris Masters, has already guaranteed himself the top spot in Group Tokyo 1970.

“I am looking forward to play against probably the player who is playing better the past couple of weeks, and I’m excited about that,” Nadal said. “Let’s see. [It’s] going to be amazing challenge and I hope to be ready for it.”

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Too Hot To Handle? Tsitsipas Rethinks Aggressive Game Plan

  • Posted: Nov 20, 2020

When defending champion Stefanos Tsitsipas was asked before his Nitto ATP Finals rematch against Rafael Nadal about the strategy he would employ against the Spanish great, he had a very clear game plan: “You can’t play defensive with Rafa.”

The Greek player stuck to his strategy, but for the second year in a row he went down swinging against Nadal at The O2, falling in another three-set battle, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2. He was eliminated from the season-ending event after finishing with a 1-2 record in Group London 2020.

“I don’t even know what I was trying to do, honestly,” Tsitsipas said. “Trying to be way, way too aggressive. I was giving him free points without really, you know, himself doing much or hurting me from the back.

“I should have handled it a little bit more clever and patiently, but it didn’t happen. My serve was not there when I needed it, and these guys, you just have to be there. I wasn’t fully present. I wasn’t playing in the moment. Quite disappointed with that. But that’s life.”

It was a disappointing end to a strange season for the Greek player, who started the year lifting his fifth ATP Tour trophy in Marseille and backed it up with a run to the final in Dubai. But just as he had seemed to find his best tennis, then came the Tour’s six-month pause as the world was gripped by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

When the season resumed, Tsitsipas reached his second career Grand Slam semi-final at Roland Garros, and came to London eager to defend his Nitto ATP Finals crown. But he admitted that the mental aspect of the empty stands, bubbles and strict health protocols had taken a toll.

“I’m not a person who sees the dark side of things. But this whole thing was very difficult to handle, to be honest with you,” Tsitsipas reflected. “I’m very happy that I didn’t break down, and I’m sure if you ask other players they are going to respond the same way.”


With his season in the books, Tsitsipas is already looking forward to the off-season and new year ahead – and maybe, a season where he won’t have to run into Nadal at The O2, as the Nitto ATP Finals moves to its new home in Turin in 2021.

“There were a few positives I can take from that,” Tsitsipas said. “I will try and forget the negatives, because who needs negativity in this world? Just looking at the bright side of it. Trying to get to the end of the tunnel and see something better in the near future.”

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