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Rivalries Of 2022: Medvedev Vs. Kyrgios

  • Posted: Dec 13, 2022

Rivalries Of 2022: Medvedev Vs. Kyrgios

ATP Tour Season In Review: Best Rivalries

Continuing our annual season-in-review series, revisits the biggest rivalries of 2022. Today we feature Daniil Medvedev vs. Nick Kyrgios.

Big serving, huge forehands and no shortage of outrageous shotmaking. There are few better spectacles on the ATP Tour than a free-hitting showdown between Daniil Medvedev and Nick Kyrgios.

After three years without a tour-level meeting, fans were treated to three installments of the Medvedev-Kyrgios rivalry in 2022. While Medvedev notched an impressive victory at the Australian Open, it was Kyrgios who secured bragging rights for the season with a pair of hard-fought wins on North American hard courts, in Montreal and at the US Open.

At the end of a year in which Medvedev rose to World No. 1 for the first time and a rejuvenated Kyrgios put together some of the best results of his career, looks back on how one of the Tour’s blockbuster rivalries played out in 2022.

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Australian Open, Second Round, Medvedev d. Kyrgios 7-6(1), 6-4, 4-6, 6-2
The 2022 Grand Slam action was just four days old when Medvedev and Kyrgios collided in a heavyweight second-round clash at January’s Australian Open.

For the first half of the match it appeared that second-seeded Medvedev was on track to claim his first victory in three attempts against the Australian in style. His top-quality return game helped him claim the first two sets on Rod Laver Arena, but Kyrgios roused the home fans with some typically majestic shotmaking en route to the third.

“I thought the atmosphere was awesome,” Kyrgios later said. “That’s what sport is. You’ve got the most entertaining player playing in his home slam on Rod Laver. You’d expect the crowd to be like that.”

<a href=''>Daniil Medvedev</a>

Photo Credit: William West/AFP via Getty Images

Those positive vibes could not carry Kyrgios to a famous comeback win, however, as Medvedev slammed the door shut on the Australian in clinical fashion by breaking twice in the fourth set to seal a two-hour, 58-minute win.

“I came to win this match and I am happy I managed to do it,” said Medvedev. “It was a funny match because we both served big. In the second and fourth sets I managed to return a little bit more at the crucial moments.”

Despite the defeat, Kyrgios was happy with how he had performed against eventual finalist Medvedev in just his second competitive match in four months.

“No matter how little I train or how much I play, I’ll always lift for matches like this,” said the Australian. “I’m not going to shy away from it… If I play 95 per cent of people tonight on that court, I think I win, to be honest with you.”

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National Bank Open Presented by Rogers, Second Round, Kyrgios d. Medvedev 6-7(2), 6-4, 6-2
In contrast to the meeting in Melbourne, Kyrgios arrived at August’s National Bank Open Presented by Rogers in Montreal amid a red-hot run of form that had seen the Australian reach his maiden Grand Slam final at Wimbledon and lift his seventh ATP Tour crown in Washington.

That confidence was plain to see against World No. 1 and defending champion Medvedev in the second round in Canada, where the 27-year-old Australian remained unbroken throughout a two-hour encounter for his 14th win in 15 tour-level matches.

“This is the fourth meeting we’ve had, and I’ve had some success against him in the past,” said Kyrgios after the match. “But he’s beaten me before [as well]. I feel like we know each other’s games well. I’m not the type of player that goes into this match looking at rankings or anything like that, it’s just who I’m playing and what kind of ball they’re giving me.”

Kyrgios’ decision to frequently deploy serve-and-volley tactics against an opponent renowned for his deep positioning on return paid off in Montreal. The Australian won 67 per cent (32/48) of points at the net to claim his second win against a reigning World No. 1, after his 2014 Wimbledon win against Rafael Nadal.

“Today I had a very clean objective of how I was going to play, a lot of serve-and-volley, a lot of aggressive play from the back,” said Kyrgios. “I executed better than he did, that’s all it comes down to.”

“He was great. He was playing good,” reflected the defeated Medvedev. “He beat me fairly, if we can say [it] like this.”

US Open, Fourth Round, Kyrgios d. Medvedev 7-6(11), 3-6, 6-3, 6-2

Fewer than four weeks after his win in Montreal, Kyrgios ended another Medvedev title defence on North American hard courts with an impressive four-set victory at the US Open.

“I just thought I played the right way,” said Kyrgios, who fired 53 winners, including 21 aces, en route to a two-hour, 53-minute fourth-round win at Flushing Meadows. “I returned unbelievable today. Just thought the third and fourth sets were just so free. I was just having a lot of fun, embracing every moment out on Ashe today. [I am] really proud of that.”

<a href=''>Nick Kyrgios</a>
Photo Credit: Sarah Stier/Getty Images

Kyrgios sealed his victory despite a bizarre third-set gaffe, later described by the Australian as “probably the most boneheaded play of all time”. At 1-0, 30/30 on Medvedev’s serve in the third set, Kyrgios ran round the net to intercept a high volley from the top seed that was clearly not going to make it to his side of the court.

“I thought it was legal to be honest. I genuinely thought it was legal,” Kyrgios said in an interview with ESPN. “I thought I was playing the concrete streets of my suburb in Canberra… You can see my face… I was so happy. I was like, ‘That’s the best shot ever’ and it wasn’t legal. But it was fun.”

A disappointed Medvedev was impressed with the level Kyrgios had shown as the Australian extended his lead in the pair’s ATP Head2Head series to 4-1.

“It was a high-level match,” said Medvedev, who lost his No. 1 spot in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings as a result of the loss. “[I’ve] played Novak, Rafa. They all play amazing. Nick today played kind of their level, in my opinion.

“He has a little bit different game because he’s not like a grinder in a way. At the same time, he can rally. He’s tough to play. He has an amazing serve… He has every shot. It was a really high-level match from him.”

Read more of our Best of 2022 series

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Rune On The Rise: #NextGenATP Dane Named 2022 Newcomer Of The Year

  • Posted: Dec 13, 2022

Rune On The Rise: #NextGenATP Dane Named 2022 Newcomer Of The Year

Breakthrough season earns 19-year-old first ATP Award

Even with the on-court action wrapped for 2022, Holger Rune’s prodigious talent continues to be recognised. The 19-year-old Dane has been named Newcomer of the Year in the 2022 ATP Awards after a standout season that saw him claim three ATP Tour titles and reach the Top 10 of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings for the first time.

“I’m super happy that I’ve been awarded with Newcomer of the Year, this means a lot,” said Rune. “I’ve worked very hard the whole year to do as good as possible, and it’s really nice to see that my colleagues [voted for] me, so it means a lot. I just can’t wait for 2023, and it’s going to be hopefully another great year.” 

Two red-hot streaks of form defined a stunning 2022 season for Rune.

If a string of top-quality wins during the European clay-court season were a sign that the Dane had the game to compete with the very best on Tour, his late-season charge on indoor hard courts proved his ability to convert those attributes into title-winning performances against the very best in the world.

Rune lifted his maiden ATP Tour title at the BMW Open by American Express in Munich in May, just two days after turning 19, before upsetting Stefanos Tsitsipas en route to his maiden Grand Slam quarter-final at Roland Garros. The Dane then responded to a moderate run of mid-year results like a seasoned pro, claiming two further titles while winning 19 of his final 21 matches of the year.

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That sublime run included championship match appearances in Sofia and Basel, and Rune defeated World No. 5 Tsitsipas in straight sets to win the Stockholm Open. He capped off his year with the biggest title of his career, battling past Novak Djokovic in a thrilling Rolex Paris Masters final to break into the Top 10 of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings for the first time.

“I’m feeling lovely to be honest, it’s the best feeling,” said Rune after his run to his maiden ATP Masters 1000 crown in Paris, where he defeated five Top 10 opponents in a row. “If you told me four weeks ago, I would be Top 10… I would be like ‘What, sorry?’ Now I’m here and I’m super proud.”

Jack Draper, Jiri Lehecka, Ben Shelton and Chun-Hsin Tseng were also nominated in the Newcomer of the Year category, as #NextGenATP player who entered the Top 100 for the first time in 2022. 

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‘The Perfect Sporting Icon’: Federer Honoured At Swiss Sports Awards

  • Posted: Dec 13, 2022

‘The Perfect Sporting Icon’: Federer Honoured At Swiss Sports Awards

Five-time year-end World No. 1 receives rarely given award in homeland

The impact of Roger Federer’s time as a professional tennis player was global. The ATP Tour great delighted packed crowds in stadiums around the world throughout his storied 24-year career, but the recently retired star was no less beloved in his home nation of Switzerland.

That was reflected as much on Sunday, when Federer was presented with a honorary prize at the 2022 Swiss Sports Awards. It was just the sixth time in the history of the prestigious annual event that the special award had been presented, and the first since 2009, a reflection of the impact that the 103-time tour-level titlist made with his on-court prowess.

“I couldn’t have been as successful as I have been throughout my career without all the help I have received over the years from my incredible fans, parents, wife and team,” wrote Federer via Instagram. “Thank you for the honorary Swiss Sports award.”

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A post shared by Roger Federer (@rogerfederer)

Among Federer’s career achievements were 310 weeks spent at World No. 1 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, including a record 237 consecutive weeks from 2 February 2004 until 18 August 2008, and 20 Grand Slam trophies. He played the final match of his professional career in September at the Laver Cup, where he represented Team Europe in a doubles rubber alongside long-time on-court rival and friend Rafael Nadal on an emotional night in London.

Federer won the Swiss Sportsperson of the Year award seven times between 2003 and 2017 and in 2020 he was named the Best Sportsperson in the 70-year history of the Swiss Sports Awards. Following his retirement, the event’s website described him as ‘The perfect sporting icon’.

“One should be careful with superlatives,” continued the written tribute to Federer. “With this, however, you are guaranteed not to go wrong: Roger Federer is the best athlete that Switzerland has ever had.”

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Australia Co-Captain Stosur On United Cup: ‘A Huge Step Forward For Our Sport’

  • Posted: Dec 13, 2022

Australia Co-Captain Stosur On United Cup: ‘A Huge Step Forward For Our Sport’

2011 US Open champion to lead host nation alongside ATP legend Lleyton Hewitt

The inaugural edition of the United Cup may be more than two weeks away, but excitement for the impact of the new mixed team event is already building. Just ask Team Australia co-captain Sam Stosur.

“Having this event — men and women, ATP and WTA combined — when you’re really playing for something, you’re playing for your country, you’re playing for points, and obviously everything that goes along with that, I think it’s fantastic,” said nine-time WTA tour-level singles champion and former World No. 4 Stosur. “It’s a huge step forward for our sport, and now that it’s happening it can only get better and better.

“You never know where things could go from here on in, now that the first one [is happening] and everyone can experience it. Having both combined is just an awesome event, and I’m really looking forward to it.”

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Hewitt, Radwanska, Majoli Among United Cup Captains

The 18-team United Cup will bring a host of the biggest stars from both the ATP Tour and WTA Tour together in Brisbane, Perth and Sydney for a groundbreaking start to the global tennis season. As a co-captain, Stosur is excited about the opportunity to take her place courtside to witness what some of the world’s best male and female players have to offer, not least for her own Team Australia.

“I think it’s going to be an awesome experience, sitting out there watching Nick [Kyrgios] and Alex [de Minaur] and Ajla [Tomljanovic], and Zoe [Hives] or Maddy [Inglis], and whoever else is playing and whoever they’re against,” said Stosur, who is now a full-time doubles player and will be a ‘playing captain’ for her country in Sydney. “There’s no better seat in the house, I’m sure it’s going to be super exciting.

“Any time you wear your country’s colours, something else sort of happens to you. I know what it’s like to be playing out there, so I couldn’t imagine not being excited on the bench seat as well.”

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Team Australia’s highest-ranked singles player is Nick Kyrgios, currently No. 22 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. The 27-year-old enjoyed a stellar 2022 season individually, reaching his maiden Grand Slam final at Wimbledon and lifting a seventh tour-level title in Washington, and Stosur believes the United Cup’s team format will only serve to motivate the crowd favourite.

“It’s no secret that he [Kyrgios] loves the team environment, playing in a group and in a team, and it does seem to bring out some of his best tennis,” said Stosur. “I’m sure the United Cup is going to be no different to what we’ve seen him do in those sorts of situations before.

“He loves playing at home, and it will be at Ken Rosewall Arena and hopefully have great crowds and excitement. It’s going to be good fun.”

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Groundbreaking Nadal Voted Fans’ Favourite In 2022 ATP Awards

  • Posted: Dec 13, 2022

Groundbreaking Nadal Voted Fans’ Favourite In 2022 ATP Awards

Spaniard wins fan-voted ATP Award for first time

Rafael Nadal’s historic 2022 ATP Tour season has ended with the Spaniard treading yet more new ground — the 36-year-old has been voted as Fans’ Favourite for the first time in the ATP Awards.

Despite entering the year off the back of a five-month injury layoff, Nadal made his best start to an ATP Tour season by winning his first 20 matches in 2022. That run included lifting a record 21st Grand Slam crown at the Australian Open, and the Spaniard made it 22 major crowns with victory on the clay at Roland Garros in June.

“I am super happy to receive the Fans’ Favourite Award [in] 2022. It makes me feel great. I can’t thank you enough everyone for the support not only for this award, but at the same time for all the support that I receive in every single city and event around the world,” Nadal said. “That means everything to me, so I am very [much] looking forward to 2023 to share a lot of positive things again. See you soon!”

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As well as those Grand Slam victories in Australia and France, Nadal also won ATP Tour events in Melbourne and Acapulco this season to increase his tally of tour-level titles to 92. He finished the year with a 39-8 tour-level record. 

The Spaniard now has a fan-voted ATP Award to go with his full set of Awards in the player-voted categories: Newcomer, Most Improved, Comeback and Sportsmanship. Nadal was also named Arthur Ashe Humanitarian of the Year in 2011 and crowned ATP No. 1 presented by Pepperstone five times (2008, 2010, 2013, 2017, 2019).

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Fans React To Rafa’s Stunning QF Win: ‘I Can’t Believe I’m Watching Nadal!’

The announcement of Nadal’s win comes a day after Thanasi Kokkinakis and Nick Kyrgios were named the Fans’ Favourite doubles team for the first time.


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Five Challenger Player Storylines From 2022

  • Posted: Dec 13, 2022

Five Challenger Player Storylines From 2022

Shelton finished the year on a 15 match-winning streak

After 11 months of weekly ATP Challenger Tour tournaments, a bow was put on the season which held historic moments.

Whether it was players launching their career, making a comeback, setting records for their home country, or graduating to Tour-level tournaments, looks at five Challenger player storylines from 2022.

Jack Draper
Nobody finished the year with a better winning percentage on the Challenger Tour than Draper. The 20-year-old boasted a 24-4 Challenger match-winning record and collected a season-leading four Challenger titles (tied w/ Pedro Cachin): Forli-2, Forli-4, Forli-5, and Saint-Brieuc. At the Forli-5 Challenger, Draper fended off four match points in the final to defeat Swiss Alexander Ritschard.

ATP Challenger Tour 

Draper is the second-youngest player from Great Britain to win multiple Challenger titles, only behind the-then 18-year-old Andy Murray in 2005 (Aptos, Binghamton).

“I think the Challenger Tour is massive for players,” Draper said. “When you come through and start winning tournaments back-to-back at that level it gives you huge confidence you can come on Tour and compete with these guys. Everyone on the Challenger level is hungry to do well because that is what gets you onto the Tour. The Challenger Tour has given me a real base and confidence of coming onto the Tour.”

The Briton’s standout season earned him a spot at the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals, where he won two round-robin matches and was a semi-finalist (l. Nakashima).

Ben Shelton
The 20-year-old American made the biggest jump to crack the Top 100 this season. After starting the year ranked outside the Top 500 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, Shelton climbed to a career-high 97 following three consecutive Challenger titles (Charlottesville, Knoxville, Champaign) and ended the season with a 15 match-winning streak.

Challenger Win Percentage Leaders (2022)

Player W-L Pct.
Jack Draper 24-4 85.7
Wu Yibing 23-4 85.2
Ben Shelton 35-8 81.4
Quentin Halys 43-10 81.1
Ugo Humbert 19-5 79.2

The 2022 NCAA singles champion is the youngest player in Challenger history to win three titles in as many weeks and the second American to do so (Sam Querrey ‘14 Napa, Sacramento, Tiburon). The former University of Florida star is the first player to win a Challenger title and the NCAA singles title in the same season since Steve Johnson in 2012.

“[The Challenger Tour] gives you an opportunity to see tennis from guys who are playing at Top 100-level,” Shelton told in July. “It’s a lot of different types of competition and it sets you up for playing on the ATP Tour. It’s a really good stepping stone and the level isn’t that far off from the ATP [Tour].”

Chinese Trio
Wu Yibing, Zhang Zhizhen, and Shang Juncheng combined to make Chinese tennis history this season.

Wu, who claimed three Challenger titles this season (Orlando, Rome, Indianapolis), held the second-best winning percentage on the Challenger Tour. In the Indianapolis Challenger final, the 23-year-old saved six championship points in a dramatic 6-7(10), 7-6(13), 6-3 victory over Aleksandar Kovacevic.

After being sidelined for three years due to injuries and the pandemic, Wu was nominated for the 2022 ATP Comeback Player Of The Year.

Wu Yibing en route to a dramatic ATP Challenger Tour victory in Indianapolis on Sunday.
Wu Yibing in action at the 2022 Indianapolis Challenger. Credit: Larry Lawrence

Part of his inspiring comeback came at Flushing Meadows, where he and Zhang battled through qualifying to become the first Chinese men to compete in the US Open main draw in the Open Era.

In October, Zhang became the first Chinese male to crack the Top 100. The Shanghai native was a four-time Challenger finalist this season, including in Cordenons, Italy, where he won his first Challenger title since October 2019 (Shenzhen).

At the Lexington Challenger, it was Shang’s turn to etch his name into the history books. The Beijing native won the hard court event to become the youngest (17 years, 6 months) Challenger champion this season. Since 2010, only four men have won a Challenger title at a younger age: Felix Auger-Aliassime (16 years, 10 months), Alexander Zverev (17 years, 2 months), Carlos Alcaraz (17 years, 3 months), and Nicola Kuhn (17 years, 3 months).

Pedro Cachin
It was a record-setting year for Argentine players, who combined for 23 Challenger titles. Cachin, 27, led the way as he competed in seven Challenger finals this year and claimed four titles: Madrid, Prague, Todi, Santo Domingo. The Bell Ville native was the only Argentine to win more than a pair of titles this season.

“[Argentina’s 23] Challenger titles in a year is incredible.” Cachin said. “It’s amazing to have such an opportunity for all the players to be a part of something special like that. It is not easy for our players to travel the world, going very far from home, but to have this achievement makes it all worth it.”

At the US Open, Cachin won back-to-back five-setters to reach the third round (l. Moutet). After starting the season as No. 245, Cachin’s breakthrough season propelled him to a career-high 54 in November.

Luca Nardi

The 19-year-old’s three Challenger titles this season was the most of any Italian. The Pesaro native triumphed at the Forli-1, Lugano, and Mallorca Challengers. #TheNextGenATP star’s title on home soil in January made him the second-youngest (18 years, 5 months) Challenger winner this season. Nardi and Swiss Dominic Stricker were the only teenagers to win multiple Challenger titles this season.

<a href=''>Luca Nardi</a> celebrates winning a point at the 2022 Mallorca Challenger.
Luca Nardi celebrates winning a point at the 2022 Mallorca Challenger. Credit: Alvaro Diaz/Rafa Nadal Academy

At the beginning of the year, Nardi made new commitments to himself, which helped him achieve a career-high 126.

“I started training harder and with more intensity. I also started a diet and eating better,” Nardi told in May. “Everything is going better from that. I’m trying to be as professional as I can. In general, it is the same training, with maybe some extra work on the forehand and backhand, but the intensity is much different. That is the difference.”

In October, Nardi earned his maiden Tour-level win (d. Shevchenko) at the ATP 250 event in Astana, where he advanced through qualifying and lost to Stefanos Tsitsipas in the second round.

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Rivalries Of 2022: Rublev vs. Tsitsipas

  • Posted: Dec 13, 2022

Rivalries Of 2022: Rublev vs. Tsitsipas

ATP Tour Season In Review: Best Rivalries

This week, continues its annual season-in-review series, looking back at 2022’s best matches, biggest upsets, most dramatic comebacks and more. In this installment, we look back at Andrey Rublev and Stefanos Tsitsipas’ rivalry in 2022. On Tuesday we will focus on Nick Kyrgios and Daniil Medvedev’s rivalry.

Very little has separated Andrey Rublev and Stefanos Tsitsipas throughout their ATP Head2Head history, which the Greek Tsitsipas leads 6-5. Neither man has won more than two consecutive matchups in the series, with straight-sets wins a rarity.

That theme continued in 2022, when all three meetings went to a deciding set. Tsitsipas won the first two, in Madrid and Astana, before Rublev got the last laugh at the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin. looks back at those matches as we put one of the season’s best rivalries in the spotlight.

Mutua Madrid Open, QF, Tsitsipas d. Rublev 6-3, 2-6, 6-4
Less than a month after he successfully defended his Monte Carlo title, Tsitsipas made another deep clay-court run at the ATP Masters 1000 in Madrid. After he stormed into the quarter-finals without dropping a set and ripped through the opener against Rublev, the Greek met his first real resistance on the week as the match wore on.

The Tsitsipas serve was the standout shot in the opening set, as the fourth seed dropped just six points on his delivery, but Rublev’s forehand did the heavy damage in set two. Neither man could pull away as they traded blows in the final set, and a tie-break seemed the likely outcome. But at 4-4, Tsitsipas produced a brilliant return game to edge ahead before serving out a hard-fought win.

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“He was really applying a lot of force into the strokes, and it wasn’t easy predicting what was going to come next,” said Tsitsipas after fending off two Rublev break points in the final game. “But I’m very glad with the way things ended.

“It’s never easy playing him, and I really had to survive that last game with my best strength and give out my soul, pretty much, to finish it in such a good way.”

Perhaps feeling the effects of the two-hour battle, Tsitsipas was outlasted by Alexander Zverev in a three-set semi-final defeat. 

Astana Open, SF, Tsitsipas d. Rublev 4-6, 6-4, 6-3
Five months after their Madrid meeting in May, Tsitsipas and Rublev squared off on the hard courts of Astana in October. 

Rublev used a fast start to take the opening set, saving three break points in the process, but it was Tsitsipas who excelled on the pressure points in sets two and three. After some battling holds in the final two sets, Tsitsipas struck late in each to advance to his sixth title match on the year. (He would finish 2022 with seven tour-level final appearances.)

The Greek pointed to his variety and aggression as the keys to his comeback at the ATP 500, while also crediting Rublev for his role in an entertaining matchup.

“I hit with a lot of variation and mixing and it went my way towards the end,” he said. “I kept pursuing those shots with a lot of passion and determination. It was not easy, being a set down. To have to deal with a very good opponent on the other side of the net made it an extremely physically battle. I am pleased with myself for being so determined to make it work so well.”

In the final, Tsitsipas did not have another fightback in him as he lost to Novak Djokovic in straight sets.

Nitto ATP Finals, RR, Rublev d. Tsitsipas 3-6, 6-3, 6-2
It was Rublev’s turn to come from behind in Turin, as he beat Tsitsipas in the round-robin stage of the season finale for the second straight year. Their 2022 matchup took on added significance — a winner-takes-all contest to close group play, with the winner advancing to the knockout rounds at the loser’s expense.

Tsitsipas was scorching at the start as he raced through the opening set behind vicious cuts on his serve and forehand. But Rublev stayed the course to advance to the semis for the first time in three Nitto ATP Finals appearances. As dominant as Tsitsipas was in the opening set, Rublev matched it and then some as he dictated play in the later stages. 

From 3-3 in set two, Rublev won nine of the final 11 games by firing winners off both wings and stepping into his returns with great effect.

“I didn’t give up. I kept fighting and playing,” he said. “I lost my emotions a bit when I lost a stupid game at 40/0 in the first set. I let my emotions go… I thought I would have chances if I just gave my best. I managed to turn the match around.”

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For Rublev’s part, he sees their games as closely matched, as evidenced by the slim 6-5 lead Tsitsipas holds in their ATP Head2Head series: “If you take our match, every match, we have tough battles,” he said in Turin when told of Tsitsipas’ remarks. “This year I lost to him twice in three sets, and now I beat him in three sets.”

The pair have met three times in each of the past three seasons, and the stage is perfectly set for more in 2023.

Read more of our Best Of 2022 series

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