Daniil Medvedev fights back to beat US Open champion Dominic Thiem and win the biggest title of his career at the ATP Finals.
Daniil Medvedev fights back to beat US Open champion Dominic Thiem and win the biggest title of his career at the ATP Finals.
Daniil Medvedev forced a deciding set against Dominic Thiem in the championship match of the Nitto ATP Finals Sunday evening, levelling their clash at 4-6, 7-6(2).
Medvedev saved three break points in the second set and played a clean, aggressive tie-break to send the match to a third set after one hour and 52 minutes. Thiem took a 2/0 lead, but the Russian earned seven consecutive points with sneaks into the net to take the momentum. The winner will be a first-time champion at the season finale.[WATCH LIVE 1]
Thiem leads the pair’s FedEx ATP Head2Head series 3-1. Their most recent clash came in the semi-finals of the US Open, where the Austrian triumphed in straight sets. Medvedev is in his best form of the year though, following his Rolex Paris Masters title. The Russian has won nine consecutive matches, including six against the Top 10. Before Paris-Bercy, he had not beaten a Top 10 opponent all year.
Medvedev is known for his nearly impenetrable defence, but he showed early on that he wanted to control play from the baseline, stepping inside the court to try to keep Thiem from unleashing his powerful groundstrokes. The World No. 4 attacked Thiem’s forehand to try to stop the Austrian from playing from the ad court.
But at 2-2, Medvedev let slip a 40/0 advantage, including a missed overhead, to concede the break. Thiem battled back from 15/30 as he served out the set and clinched the opener with a forehand passing shot that clipped the net.
Thiem has taken another step forward this season, reaching his first hard-court Grand Slam final at the Australian Open and lifting his first major trophy at the US Open. Now he is trying to claim the season finale crown one year on from losing a final-set tie-break in the championship match at The O2 against Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Medvedev went winless on his tournament debut in London last year. But he is now trying to become the undefeated 2020 champion. The Russian can become just the second player in Nitto ATP Finals to go winless in his debut and lift the trophy the next year (Novak Djokovic, 2008).
Both Medvedev and Thiem defeated Djokovic and Rafael Nadal this week, marking the fourth and fifth time a player beat the two legends at the Nitto ATP Finals in the same year. If Medvedev emerges victorious Sunday, he will become the first to defeat the top three players in the FedEx ATP Rankings at the season finale. That has only happened three times at a single event since the start of the ATP Tour in 1990.
Wesley Koolhof and Nikola Mektic finished their team debut season with their first title on Sunday, as they beat Jurgen Melzer and Edouard Roger-Vasselin 6-2, 4-6, 10-5 to claim the Nitto ATP Finals trophy.
The fifth seeds, who joined forces at the Adelaide International in January, won 61 per cent of their second-serve return points (11/18) to clinch the trophy in 76 minutes. It was a case of third time lucky for the Dutch-Croatian tandem, which lost its first two finals at the Open 13 Provence in Marseille and the US Open earlier this year. Koolhof and Mektic end the season with a 24-13 team record.
“[It is] a dream come true to have qualified here for this event,” said Koolhof during the trophy ceremony. “[We] managed to play some very good tennis, made it through the group stage. Won yesterday, played a very good match yesterday. Played here the final today, which is always a dream, to play every final. But to play the final of the [Nitto ATP] Finals is very big and [we are] extremely happy to have won.”
Koolhof is the fourth Dutch player to win the Nitto ATP Finals doubles crown. The 31-year-old joins two-time champions Jacco Eltingh/Paul Haarhuis (1993, ’98) and Jean-Julien Rojer (2015) in the exclusive club. Mektic is the first Croatian to capture a trophy at the season finale.
“I cannot express how I feel,” said Mektic. “[I am] really, really happy. It’s like a dream come true.”
One of the key features of Koolhof and Mektic’s title run at The O2 has been the consistent success they have found on their returns. The pair continued that trend in the opening game of the match, as Mektic ripped a forehand return winner down the line to break serve. Koolhof and Mektic fired low returns at 3-1 to earn a double-break advantage and clinched the set with a love service hold.
Melzer and Roger-Vasselin earned the first break of the second set, as Roger-Vasselin extracted volley errors with aggressive play from the baseline. The St. Petersburg champions held three service games with relative ease to force the final to a Match Tie-break.
In the Match Tie-break, Mektic took the initiative to make the crucial difference. The Croat connected on multiple returns and played with composure at the net to reach 9/5. On the pair’s first championship point, Melzer struck a double fault to end the match.
”Wes, obviously thank you very much. It’s our first title together. Not bad for a first one… It’s been a great tournament for us and amazing way to finish the year,” said Mektic.[DATA DIVE]
Melzer and Roger-Vasselin were also attempting to lift the trophy on their team debut at the season finale. The pair topped Group Bob Bryan with a 2-1 record and rallied from 1/7 down in a Match Tie-break to defeat Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury in the semi-finals. Melzer and Roger-Vasselin end their 2020 ATP Tour season with a 26-15 record, highlighted by their title run at the St. Petersburg Open.
”It was a hell of a ride. We have been fighting hard since Roland Garros, played almost every week to get here and then coming to the Nitto ATP Finals is a great achievement,” said Melzer. “Of course it stings today, and it hurts, but in the end we’re going to look back at being runners-up here. The Nitto [ATP Finals] is the pinnacle of our sport. Every player wants to be part of this event. I was lucky enough to make it three times and I will always look back and cherish this moment.”
Koolhof and Mektic, who ended the tournament with a 4-1 record, collected 1,300 FedEx ATP Doubles Team Ranking points and split $254,500 in prize money. Melzer and Roger-Vasselin earned 800 points and shared $184,500.
”Thanks Jurgen for this great year. [It was our] last match together today,” said Roger-Vasselin. “We wish we could have the other trophy, but it was a long, long journey to come to London and get to the final. Maybe after a couple of days I will realize it was a good week. But right now, it’s painful.”
Did You Know?
Ten of the 15 doubles matches at The O2 this year required a Match Tie-break.
Rafael Nadal tried to change his game against Daniil Medvedev on Saturday in the semi-finals of the Nitto ATP Finals. But the Russian solved the Spaniard’s puzzle, and that helped him reach the championship match at the season finale.
During Group London 2020 play, Nadal did not excessively use his slice. He sliced 14 per cent of his shots against Andrey Rublev, 12 per cent against Dominic Thiem and 10 per cent against defending champion Stefanos Tsitsipas in a must-win match.
The 20-time Grand Slam champion then made a massive tactical change against Medvedev, slicing 31 per cent of the time against the three-time ATP Masters 1000 titlist to slow the pace of the match and make things difficult for Medvedev, who hits some of the flattest groundstrokes on the ATP Tour. A biting slice stays lower to the court, making the next shot tougher for Medvedev to hit.
Using this strategy and smart trips to the net helped Nadal stymie Medvedev and gain a 6-3, 5-4 lead, putting him in position to serve out the match.
“He was just slicing slowly and playing slowly from there,” said Medvedev, who had lost his three previous ATP Head2Head meetings against Nadal. “I think he only hit maybe two winners in the match from the backhand side.”
2020 Nitto ATP Finals Nadal’s Slice Percentage By Match
The Spaniard actually hit six backhand winners, but by using the slice so often, which worked for a good chunk of the match, he allowed Medvedev to take the initiative in the important moments. Nadal saved the first two break points he faced at 3-3 in the decider, and he did not hit a slice on either point.
But the third time was the charm for the fourth seed, as Medvedev finally took advantage of the opening the slicing gave him. On the third break point he faced in the game, Nadal hit three consecutive backhand slices. On the third one, Medvedev anticipated the lefty would hit a slice, and he snuck into net, where he caught Nadal off guard. His backhand volley forced the second seed to attempt a chip backhand lob, which Medvedev smashed away with an overhead.
It was a perfectly constructed point by Medvedev in which every element of his game clicked together.
In the final set of their semi-final, 37 per cent of Nadal’s shots were slices. In his first three matches of this year’s Nitto ATP Finals, his highest slice percentage in a set was 17 per cent in the first set against Rublev, which was his first set of the week.
Nadal had a strategy against Medvedev, and it didn’t come out of nowhere. Last year at The O2, the Spaniard rallied from a 5-1 deficit in the third set to defeat Medvedev. In that match, the lefty sliced 23 per cent of the time, but he only sliced 16 per cent of his shots in the deciding set, when he made his epic comeback.
Medvedev vs Nadal Slice Comparison: Set-By-Set
|Slice Percentage||Daniil Medvedev||Rafael Nadal|
The slice kept Medvedev at bay for a while on Saturday, but the Russian kept fighting and finally got more comfortable dealing with it as the match wore on.
“[I] started to feel more the link of the game. I think I could feel it in the score and actually everything about the match,” Medvedev said. “The tie-break and third set [were] really good.”
– Slice statistics courtesy of Hawkeye
Daniil Medvedev knew that he’d have to put away Rafael Nadal on Saturday evening to reach the Nitto ATP Finals championship match for the first time. One year ago, he led the Spaniard 5-1 in the third set and had a match point, but couldn’t finish the job.
This time, the Russian snapped the legendary lefty’s 71-match winning streak after taking the opening set to remain undefeated (4-0) at this year’s season finale. The fourth seed dug deep for two hours and 36 minutes to earn his first ATP Head2Head victory against Nadal.
“To beat Rafa, you need everything: [a] good backhand, good forehand working [that] day,” Medvedev said. “Mentally you need to be super strong, because he’s there [for] all the points.”
It’s not easy to beat the best. Medvedev and his opponent in the final, Dominic Thiem, both defeated World No. 1 Novak Djokovic and No. 2 Nadal this week. Only three players had previously done that at the Nitto ATP Finals, and the last occurrence was 10 years ago, when Roger Federer did it.
The top four players in the FedEx ATP Rankings reached the semi-finals of the season finale for the first time since 2004. Djokovic and Nadal own 37 combined Grand Slam championships. The third and fourth seeds, Thiem and Medvedev, have one, and that is Thiem’s recent US Open title.
So when Medvedev battled past Nadal Saturday evening, he was happy to help shake things up. He had seen a post on social media recognising the four semi-finalists that caught his attention.
“The comment [that] got the most likes was, ‘My mind is saying Dominic and Daniil will be in the final and my heart goes for Rafa and Novak,’” Medvedev recalled, cracking a smile. “This time the mind won. It’s great that we managed to beat two [of the] biggest players in the history of sport…
“I think it’s super for tennis. We are starting to get to take our marks. Dominic won his first Slam [and he is] playing unbelievable tennis right now. [It’s] not going to be easy. Hopefully I can play good like this. I for sure can cause him some troubles.”[WATCH LIVE 1]
The rising stars have known each other since the juniors, so there will be no secrets on Centre Court at The O2 on Sunday. Medvedev and Thiem practised together twice since they arrived in London, where they have both made history. Now they’ll lace up their sneakers one more time and see who lifts the trophy.
The only difference is that this is no longer an early-round junior match in Umag, where they first met when Medvedev was 14. This is for one of the biggest titles in tennis. If Medvedev wins, he will become the first player in Nitto ATP Finals history to defeat the top three players in the FedEx ATP Rankings en route to the crown.
“Dominic is [an] amazing player,” Medvedev said. “I think it’s going to be great tennis tomorrow.”
Did You Know?
A first-time champion at the season finale is guaranteed for the fifth consecutive year.
As much as he might like to, Novak Djokovic won’t carry the No. 1 FedEx ATP Ranking to his grave. He’s occupied the perch for a total of 295 weeks (and counting) and is just 15 weeks away from Roger Federer’s all-time record mark of 310 career weeks.
At times this season, he’s looked very much like an indestructible superhero. But as good as he’s been—41-4 coming into Saturday’s semi-finals— the cold reality is this: someone will overtake him sooner or later. On Saturday, as the world’s top four players convened at The O2, the question posed by The Who in 1971 was very much on the table once again: Who’s next?[WATCH LIVE 1]
No one can discount the possibility that that other pair of tennis superheroes you may have heard about, Señor Rafael Nadal and Herr Roger Federer, could reclaim their thrones. But another scenario is that one of Djokovic’s younger rivals will eventually supplant him. On Saturday, two of the likeliest suspects—Dominic Thiem, 27, and Daniil Medvedev, 24—had auditions to play the role of heir apparent.
While Sunday’s championship match at the Nitto ATP Finals is a massive deal in and of itself, it may also reveal who among this pair is most likely to threaten Djokovic’s hold on No. 1 in the future.
Thiem leads his ATP Head2Head series against Medvedev 3-1. The Russian’s sole win came on an outdoor hard court in Montreal last year, during his scorching hot summer when he made it to the final of six consecutive tournaments, winning three of them. This will be their first meeting indoors. Thiem took their last match in the semi-finals of this year’s US Open in straight sets, but the Russian served for the second and third sets before falling in close tie-breaks, 9/7 and 7/5.
Thiem said after that match that tie-breaks are “really mentally a tough thing.” “I don’t like them at all, to be honest,” he said.
Of course, he liked them a lot better when he won a dramatic fifth set tie-break over Alexander Zverev in the final two days later to capture his first major. That win, coupled with what’s he accomplished this week, will give him a huge head of steam as he seeks to capture his first Nitto ATP Finals title Sunday against Medvedev, who is riding his own wave into the match.[DATA DIVE]
Look for Thiem to swing away, aiming for lines. He may also take a page out of Nadal’s playbook and try to draw the Russian into the net, where he’s less confident. Thiem, who stayed to watch the second semi-final, will enter the match with a 25-8 record on the season. He was 7-15 versus the Big Three prior to 2019, but is a spectacular 9-3 against them since. He has more wins (17) at the majors than any other player this year and has had a better season than any other player, with the possible exception of Djokovic, who has five titles to his two.
Medvedev, the name means “bear” in Russian, comes into the final carrying a 27-10 record on the season. Pretty heady stuff for a kid whose parents used to drive him 90 minutes each way to train in Moscow before they moved to France to advance his career at age 14. Expectations for him soared after he reached the final of six consecutive tournaments last season, winning three of them, but his fifth gear has eluded him at times this season. He’s a streaky player who’s currently on a roll, which means he’ll be a tough out Sunday.
Medvedev looks like a man of the future, but after his semi-final win over Nadal he allowed himself to wistfully look back to his first encounter with Thiem from their junior days. The Russian was just 14, the last to qualify for a tournament in Umag, Croatia, while Thiem was the reigning junior Roland Garros champion.
“He destroyed me 2 and 0, I think,” Medvedev recalled. “I think I maybe
made a ‘tweener winner if I’m not mistaken. Actually (I) lost the memory of this match, and he (reminded) me (of it) in some interview one time about it… I had (a) crazy attitude on the court (then), like 10 times worse than right now. He told me after the match, ‘You’re going to have a good future maybe, but you need to be a little bit more calm.’ Because I was going crazy.”
Calm or crazy, whomever prevails, it’ll be the sixth consecutive year with a different Nitto ATP Finals champion, which is hard to believe in a sport that’s been dominated by three men for so many years. Djokovic said after his loss that it was “too early” to say if Thiem posed a threat to his hold on No. 1. He won’t be here to revisit that opinion Sunday, nor would he want to. But one thing is certain: the man who holds the trophy Sunday will be the one who will bear the weight of great expectations, as tennis’ next chosen one, heading into 2021. Neither would want it any other way.
World No. 2 Rafael Nadal could almost see the finish line as he faced a rock-solid Daniil Medvedev for a spot in the championship match at the Nitto ATP Finals.
The 20-time Grand Slam winner claimed a tense opening set against the Russian, a player he had defeated in their previous three ATP Head2Head encounters, and broke late in the second set to serve for the match, leading 5-4. A victory would have put him one step closer to claiming the only Big Title that has eluded him after 10 appearances.
But Medvedev made Nadal wait a little longer, as he broke back to love and turned the match on its head to reach his first final at the season-finale.
“I think at the beginning of the match he was better than me,” Nadal assessed in his post-match press conference. “I was able to save my serves with troubles, but then I played well to have the break and then to close the set.
“In the second, a little bit the same story at the beginning, but at the end of the set I was playing a little bit better than him. And then in the 5-4 I think he played a good game and I didn’t. I played a bad game. That’s it. But I had a big opportunity. I lost a big opportunity.”
The Spaniard faced Medvedev three times during the Russian’s breakout 2019 season – including a meeting in last year’s Nitto ATP Finals group stage. With each match, Medvedev seemed to edge closer and closer to victory: After a straight-sets beatdown in the Coupe Rogers final, he pushed Nadal to five sets in the US Open final. At this event last year, Medvedev led by 5-1 in the third set and held match point before Nadal stormed back to win.
Leading by a break in the second set on Saturday, Nadal was in pole position to claim his fourth victory in a row over Medvedev and reach his third Nitto ATP Finals championship match. The Spaniard shook off any suggestion that he cracked under pressure, instead giving credit to his opponent for raising his level at the crucial points.
“I think I achieved enough to not find an excuse about the pressure,” Nadal said. “I know I won enough matches and enough tournaments in an even more difficult situation than this one… So I don’t feel that way.
“I feel I played a bad game. Of course you are nervous to win the match. But not [only] me, everybody. [It] is normal to have the tension. I think he played some good points and I made a couple of mistakes.
“Small details make a big difference. Just well done for him and not enough good for me.”[WATCH LIVE 3]
With his abbreviated 2020 season in the books, Nadal was eager to put the defeat behind him and look ahead to next year. The typically level-headed Spaniard said he is approaching the off-season with the same full-throttle drive and motivation as he approaches most matches and tournaments.
“My goal is always the same: to go to every tournament and to give myself a chance to compete well and to try to win it,” Nadal said.
“That’s the goal of every year. My motivation [has] been always the same. Next year is going to be an important year. I hope to be ready to fight for the things that I want to fight [for]. I’m going to work hard during the off-season to be ready for the beginning.”
“Looks like the final is over.”
“Fibak is 4-1 up on his serve in the fourth set.”
“You think it’s all over?”
“Oh yeah, done and dusted.”
“No, no, wait a minute! Last year in the US Open semi-finals he made a comeback in a match against Vilas.”
This conversation took place just a few metres behind the seat on which Spain’s Manuel Orantes was sitting. A journalist interviewing guests at The Summit (Houston) during the final of the 1976 Masters approached actor Kirk Douglas to ask him what he thought of the match when the scoreboard read 5-7, 6-2, 0-6, 1-4 to Wojtek Fibak. The Hollywood star was quick to name the Pole as the winner.
Before the microphone was taken away, his wife Anne Buydens joined the conversation. She reminded everyone of the Spaniard’s great comeback a year earlier at the US Open against Guillermo Vilas, when he was losing 4-6, 1-6, 6-2, 0-5 and 15-40. Given such a feat to reach a final, how could you not believe that this time it would be possible to repeat it to become the champion of the Masters?
“I heard her and gave a thumbs up of approval. I thanked her from a distance. Those words really spurred me on,” Orantes revealed to ATPTour.com.[WATCH LIVE 3]
Such was his motivation at hearing such confidence in him that he not only broke Fibak back, he also won the fourth-set in a tie-break and then took the fifth (5-7, 6-2, 0-6, 7-6, 6-1). The win made Orantes the first Spaniard to win the season-ending championship. “I never thought that against the best in the world and on an indoor hard court, I could win. I was confident that I could do it at any tournament on clay, but winning the Masters was hugely satisfying.”
He was right to be surprised. He was undoubtedly talented enough to be among the best at the end of each season and Houston was the fifth time he had played the Masters, but until then he had yet to progress past the group stage. In 1976 though he followed his win over Roscoe Tanner (7-6, 6-3) with another against Eddie Dibbs (6-4, 6-2). His only defeat came at the hands of Fibak (5-7, 6-7).
He produced a solid performance in the semi-final to defeat Harold Solomon (6-4, 6-3, 6-4). There was now only one step left to claim the title, against the very man who had beaten him in the round robin and had also defeated him in the final in Bournemouth six months earlier.
“Matches always start at zero,” Orantes explained his approach to the Houston final. “Mentally you think what you can do, what you can change. In tennis you sometimes play in a way that doesn’t allow you to win, and you have the advantage of being able to try something new. I tried to take the initiative and play on his backhand, where he didn’t hit it as hard. I was trying to see how he handled things. That’s what I tried from the start and it worked well.”
The surface on which the Masters is played was particularly alien to the Spaniard, who claimed most of his results on clay. In fact, he never played on hard courts until he was 17. However, a year earlier he was crowned doubles champion alongside his compatriot Juan Gisbert. He is still one of just four players to have won the tournament both in singles and doubles, along with Stan Smith, John McEnroe and Stefan Edberg.
“Achieving this kind of thing at big tournaments is very significant,” said the Granada native. “To me the Masters is one of the toughest tournaments, you have to play five matches against the best in the world. You have to play great every day or you lose. It’s not like a Grand Slam where you can grow into it and find your game.”
A revealing conversation with Australia’s John Newcombe during training on hard court helped him understand the magnitude of his feat:
“John, if only I could play as well as you at the net. It would be incredible to have a volley like yours.”
“Do you know why you don’t have this volley?”
“The same reason I don’t have your baseline shots.”
“You play for eight hours at the back of the court and I spend eight hours serving and volleying. That’s the difference.”[DATA DIVE]
Despite the success, qualifying in 1976 was far from easy for him as he suffered from the dreaded ‘tennis elbow’. A change of racquet proved to be the best remedy to his woes. “I was playing with a wooden Slazenger and the brand sent me an aluminium racquet. They told me to try it to see what I thought. I started to train at my club with it and I realised that it was really good for my arm. With that racquet I played in Tehran, Madrid and Barcelona, and I won all three tournaments that were on clay. On indoor I reached the finals in London and Stockholm. That’s how I got to the Masters.”
Orantes enjoyed the respect of his opponents, but nobody had him as favourite to lift the trophy in Houston. Apart from Anne Buydens, that is, who had no doubt he would win during the final. Two years later, at the tournament in Palm Springs (California), he had the chance to thank her personally.
“When I played in Palm Springs in 1978, they had a house there and they invited me to breakfast. We played tennis because they had a court and we talked about what they liked about this sport. Kirk Douglas told me he would have loved to be a tennis player and I told him I would have loved to be an actor too. They were big fans and they were very nice to me. It was really amazing.”
One year ago, Daniil Medvedev went winless in his Nitto ATP Finals debut. After a thrilling three-set victory against Rafael Nadal on Saturday evening, the World No. 4 is one match from becoming the undefeated 2020 champion.
Nadal served for a straight-sets victory at The O2 in London, but Medvedev rallied for a 3-6, 7-6(4), 6-3 triumph to reach the championship match at the season finale. The Russian, who has won nine consecutive matches, will play Dominic Thiem for the title.
“I felt really strange until 5-4 for him in the second set, when he was serving for the match,” Medvedev said in an on-court interview. “It felt like I was doing great shots but there was no link in my game and that was why I was losing. He was better in the important moments, I couldn’t return in the important moments, I couldn’t make a good shot in the important moments.
“I decided to change some small things. Just being closer, going for it a little bit more. I felt like I had the chances to win before [in] some games, a set maybe, but it didn’t work, so I had to change and it worked really well. I am really happy about it.”
Medvedev can become the fourth player to triumph at the year-end championships following a winless debut. Nadal entered the match on a 71-match winning streak after taking the opening set, but 24-year-old snapped that run with a gritty mental and physical performance over two hours and 36 minutes.
Medvedev and Thiem have defeated both World No. 1 Novak Djokovic and Nadal this week. For the Russian, it was his first ATP Head2Head victory against Nadal (1-3). Last year at The O2, Nadal saved a match point and rallied from 5-1 down in the deciding set of a round-robin match to defeat Medvedev.
It appeared almost certain that one year on, Medvedev wouldn’t make it to a deciding set. Nadal served for a spot in the final at 5-4 in the second set. But a sloppy game, punctuated by a mis-hit forehand off his back foot, allowed the Russian back into the match.
Nadal changed his typical tactics, using a heavy dose of his backhand slice to try to frustrate Medvedev. But instead it was the Spaniard who was stuck searching for answers, as Medvedev remained in his comfort zone. The World No. 4 hit 13 aces and won 77 per cent of his first-serve points in his victory.[DATA DIVE]
Medvedev came out firing early on, making his first 16 serves of the match and pressuring Nadal’s serve, earning three break points in his second return game. But at 3-3 in the opener, Medvedev missed all four of his first serves and paid for it, getting broken at love. Nadal was flawless when he moved forward, going five-for-five at the net in the first set.
The 2010 and 2013 Nitto ATP Finals runner-up played a sloppy first service game of the second set, hitting a rare double fault to concede a break. But Medvedev let slip his advantage and then gave up a second break by hitting a forehand volley right to Nadal, and it seemed that Nadal would surge to a rematch against Thiem, who defeated him in Group London 2020 play on Tuesday.
Nitto ATP Finals Wins vs. Djokovic & Nadal (Same Year)
But Medvedev, who is full of confidence after winning his third ATP Masters 1000 title at the Rolex Paris Masters, maintained his focus. Nadal began making uncharacteristic errors and the Russian applied even more pressure by standing his ground on the baseline in key moments.
Medvedev is not known for his play in the forecourt. But after letting slip two break points at 3-3 in the decider, he snuck into the net to put pressure on the lefty, ultimately earning the break with an overhead winner. He then earned a second break in the set to reach the final against Thiem, who leads their budding rivalry 3-1.
“Dominic is playing amazing right now. Already in the US Open when I lost against him, after the match I was sitting in the locker [room] and I was like, ‘I was playing good [in] this match.’ But he managed to do it, he won his first Grand Slam,” Medvedev said. “The first two times on Centre Court [I practised here] was with him. We had good rallies, it was a really good level of tennis and I said to my coach, ‘He can go far here.’ I don’t know if he said the same… but I am going to see him tomorrow.”
Did You Know?
Medvedev entered Paris-Bercy with an 0-2 record against Top 10 opponents this season. Since then he is 6-0 against the elite group.