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GB's Watson beaten by Peterson in Tianjin Open final

  • Posted: Oct 13, 2019

British number two Heather Watson lost the Tianjin Open final – her first WTA final for over three years – in straight sets to Rebecca Peterson.

Swedish world number 59 Peterson, 24, won 6-4 6-4 in China on Sunday to claim her second WTA title.

Watson, ranked 125th, broke early in both sets but was immediately pegged back both times, with Peterson winning in one hour 38 minutes.

The match was played indoors in the end after a five-hour rain delay.

Watson’s form this week means the 27-year-old is guaranteed to climb back inside the world’s top 100 when the new rankings are released.

It was the first time the Briton had lost WTA final, winning her previous three at Osaka in 2012, Hobart in 2015 and Monterrey in 2016.

After the match, Watson said: “I am so happy on court now and I am so enjoying my game again. I am looking forward to seeing what’s to come.”

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Zverev On Medvedev: 'He Plays A Way We Have Never Seen Before'

  • Posted: Oct 13, 2019

Zverev On Medvedev: ‘He Plays A Way We Have Never Seen Before’

German falls short in first ATP Masters 1000 final of 2019

Alexander Zverev enjoyed a resurgent week at the Rolex Shanghai Masters, reaching his first ATP Masters 1000 final of the year. In the process, he surged into seventh place in the ATP Race To London as he pursues a spot in the Nitto ATP Finals for the third consecutive year.

But in the Shanghai final, despite taking a 4-0 FedEx ATP Head2Head series lead into the clash against Daniil Medvedev, the German simply came up against a player in form that was too good.

“Daniil is somebody that plays a way that we have never seen before,” Zverev said. “Maybe he doesn’t do huge winners or jumping forehands or anything like that, but he plays a style that we have never seen before.”

One may wonder how the three-time Masters 1000 titlist had defeated the Russian four times with the loss of just one set previously, but as Zverev said, “He’s a different player now. You can’t compare.”

“We play against different players every single day of our lives. Every single player is different. There are no players that play the same way,” Zverev said. “He plays very flat. He plays with shots that you can’t really do anything with the ball, I feel like, and that is difficult to play against him in an aggressive way.

“Sometimes that’s maybe why it looks on TV or from the outside that players are not playing as aggressive against him as against others, but I feel like he doesn’t let you.”

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Zverev has done well this week limiting his double faults, striking only three in the final, which is a far cry from the 20 he hit in a Cincinnati loss against Daniil Medvedev. But back-to-back double faults at 4-5 in the opener cost the German the set, and that proved too tough to recover from.

“It was the most difficult match [of the week] because I lost it. All the other ones I won,” Zverev said, cracking a smile. “It was the most difficult, but I think I played the best player. Who knows what would have happened?

“Confidence was a big factor today, and he’s way, way more confident than I am in big moments in finals right now, because I always was somebody that in the big moments kind of played my best. But right now he’s been to six finals in a row, so he’s more used to it than I was.”

Despite the loss, it was a confidence-boosting week for Zverev, who ousted Roger Federer in the quarter-finals and then in-form Italian — and fellow Race contender — Matteo Berrettini in the semi-finals.

“I feel like I’m playing well. I feel like I’m on a very good path again. But obviously I have to be on this path for a longer period of time, I think. But making finals of a Masters [1000] is huge for me right now, and I’m very happy about that.”

The only thing that would have made the week better is lifting the trophy. But Zverev knows that he had to overcome one of the sport’s most difficult obstacles at the moment in Medvedev, and he did not have enough on the day.

“As I said on court, he’s probably the best player in the world right now,” Zverev said. “Credit to him.”

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Medvedev's Ride From Doubting Top 10 Potential To Eyeing No. 1

  • Posted: Oct 13, 2019

Medvedev’s Ride From Doubting Top 10 Potential To Eyeing No. 1

Russian claimed his second ATP Masters 1000 title in Shanghai on Sunday

At last year’s Citi Open, Daniil Medvedev was the No. 63 player in the ATP Rankings, and he lost in the second round. Before the event, he was feeling jet-lagged and lost a practice set against Lucas Pouille 0-6.

“My wife was there, and she was always telling me… that I’m going to be Top 10 soon, that I can play good and stuff like this. And so during the practice I was looking at her and saying, ‘Good Top 10 player here, losing 0-6 in practice,’” Medvedev recalled. “Now it’s her turn. She always reminds me this. ‘So what did you say in Washington one year ago, Daniil? Can you remind me?’”

The secret was out of the bag long before Medvedev defeated reigning Nitto ATP Finals champion Alexander Zverev on Sunday in straight sets to win his second ATP Masters 1000 title at the Rolex Shanghai Masters. But now the Russian, who has made the final or won six consecutive tour-level events he has played, doesn’t believe a chase for the No. 1 ATP Ranking is totally out of the question.

“My first goal is to win every match I play, and that’s how I can actually become No. 1, if you win a lot of matches in a row just like I did,” Medvedev said. “But to be honest with you, when you asked this question right now, I kind of thought [that] I don’t have that much points to defend till I would say USA next year. But I’m going to try my best to show great results as I did here, and if something like this is going to happen, it’s just a big bonus.”

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With his Shanghai triumph, Medvedev moves into third place in the ATP Race To London, surpassing Roger Federer. That puts the 23-year-old in position to potentially finish No. 3 in the year-end ATP Rankings.

But Medvedev is more focussed on his current form. That’s what helped him to a nine-match winning streak, during which he has won all 18 of his sets. Since making his first Grand Slam final at the US Open, he has won titles in St. Petersburg and now Shanghai.

“Here I looked invincible this week since I’m the winner. Because, as I say, I don’t like to talk about future, because you never know what [the] future’s got for you,” Medvedev said. “This week, yes, I probably was invincible, but for the next upcoming weeks, I’m not sure. And even this week there were some matches that I could have definitely lost a set and we don’t know how it would have gone. But I’m here as a winner, so [I am] happy about it.”

The seven-time ATP Tour titlist has lifted six of his seven trophies since that memorable practice against Pouille in Washington, D.C. last year. But his biggest jump in level came after Wimbledon this year, with his finals streak beginning at the Citi Open.

“Something clicked in my game in USA. I don’t know why. I think it’s just the hard work that I have been doing,” Medvedev said. “I started to understand even more about my game, even more I would say about my serve, about my volley, about everything, like what I have to do, when.

“[In] crucial moments I know what do I have to do and where do I have to play. If I have to play it with spin or slice or drop shot, stuff like this.”

Medvedev is not letting this success go to his head.

“I don’t think I have changed as a person. As I said, as a tennis player, I maybe started to understand something more about myself, and I’m not really sure what,” Medvedev said. “As a person, I think I have changed about a year ago, or throughout this year I was changing a little bit, but I don’t think that something changed 11 weeks before and that this made the change in my tennis.”

Medvedev has admitted that he believes his wife believes in him more than he does in himself, as evidenced by her Top 10 prediction. But the Russian has done well to show both himself and the world that his momentum isn’t slowing down.

“I don’t know what more I need,” said Medvedev, the top seed at next week’s VTB Kremlin Cup, cracking a laugh. “I need to win 21 Grand Slams to beat Roger.”

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Medvedev beats Zverev to win Shanghai Masters

  • Posted: Oct 13, 2019

Russia’s Daniil Medvedev has won the Shanghai Masters, beating Alexander Zverev in straight sets in the final.

The world number four won 6-4 6-1 in 73 minutes for his first victory over the German in five attempts.

It is the 23-year-old’s fourth title this year and his second consecutive ATP Masters 1000 win after victory in Cincinnati in August.

The US Open runner-up has played in more finals than anyone else on the Tour this season.

He has reached the final in his last six tournaments, winning three, and his win-loss record for 2019 stands at 59-17.

Since losing to Rafael Nadal in the US Open final last month, Medvedev has won each of the 18 sets he has played and victory in Shanghai follows his win at the St Petersburg Open.

“This one is amazing,” Medvedev told ATP. “It’s one of the most prestigious titles on the tour. I told myself to enjoy myself, I stay calm and do my job.

“I cannot believe it. It’s amazing to reach six finals in a row. I hope I can keep going.”

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Scouting Report: The Key Things To Watch In Moscow, Antwerp & Stockholm

  • Posted: Oct 13, 2019

Scouting Report: The Key Things To Watch In Moscow, Antwerp & Stockholm

An executive summary of what every fan should know about the coming week on the ATP Tour

The ATP Tour heads exclusively indoors next week at a trio of hard-court events. Daniil Medvedev leads the field at the VTB Kremlin Cup in Moscow, Gael Monfils is the top seed at the European Open in Antwerp, and Fabio Fognini continues his push for a spot at the Nitto ATP Finals as the No. 1 seed at the Intrum Stockholm Open.

View Draws: Moscow | Antwerp | Stockholm

1) Russian Takeover: A Russian triumphed in Moscow each year from 2004-09, but the winner came from outside the host country the following eight years. This year, a slew of Russian stars will try to make it two in a row for their country, led by top seed Daniil Medvedev, defending champion Karen Khachanov and sixth seed Andrey Rublev.

2) Medvedev’s Finals Streak: Daniil Medvedev on Saturday reached his sixth consecutive tour-level final in Shanghai. He will go for seven in a row in Moscow, looking to join the Big Four — Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Andy Murray — as the only active players to make seven straight tour-level championship matches.

3) Dynamic Moscow Duo: Khachanov, the second seed, has spent time working with former World No. 3 Nikolay Davydenko this year. They have combined to win four Moscow singles trophies and Davydenko earned the doubles crown in 2004 alongside countryman Igor Andreev.

Read More: Medvedev, Khachanov, Rublev Return In Moscow; When Is The Draw & More

4) Marin’s Pursuit Of No. 500: Marin Cilic, a two-time Moscow champion, is one victory from his 500th at tour-level. The Croat, seeded third, will try to accomplish the feat against 40-year-old Ivo Karlovic or Slovenian Aljaz Bedene. Cilic is trying to become the 10th active player to reach the milestone.

5) Former Champs: Outside of Cilic and Khachanov, the other former Moscow champions competing in the Russian capital are Andreas Seppi (2012) and Damir Dzumhur (2017). Seppi begins his tournament against fifth seed Cristian Garin, while Dzumhur is attempting to advance through the qualifying draw.

6) Mektic/Skugor Top Seeds: Croatians Nikola Mektic and Franko Skugor are the top seeds in the doubles draw. The reigning Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters champions found good form in Tokyo last week, reaching the final. The second seeds are Brits Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski, who have advanced to the semi-finals in five consecutive tour-level events together.

1) Murray Making Moves:
After winning four matches during his Asian Swing, former World No. 1 looks to continue his return to form on the indoor hard courts of Antwerp. This will be the Scot’s eighth tour-level event of the season as he recovers from post-Australian Open hip surgery.

2) Wawrinka The WC: Former World No. 3 Stan Wawrinka headlines the wild card selections at this ATP 250 event, where the Swiss will make his debut. Wawrinka is pursuing his first ATP Tour title since 2017 Geneva. Belgian Kimmer Coppejans and #NextGenATP Italian Jannik Sinner are the other two wild cards.

3) La Monf & Three Former Champs: Gael Monfils leads the field as he tries to win multiple ATP Tour titles in a season for the first time in his career. Two of the three players who have lifted the European Open trophy are in the main draw. Defending champion Kyle Edmund won his maiden ATP Tour title in Antwerp last year, but lost in qualifying. This year’s Montpellier and Metz winner Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was victorious in 2017 and his fellow Frenchman, Richard Gasquet, won the first edition in 2016.

Read More: Goffin Leads Home Hopes, Murray Debuts In Antwerp; When Is The Draw & More

4) The #NextGenATP Charge: There are three #NextGenATP stars in the field: Sinner, 2018 Delray Beach champion Frances Tiafoe and Frenchman Ugo Humbert.

5) Goffin Leads The Home Hopes: Belgian No. 1 David Goffin has competed in Antwerp twice, making the semi-finals and quarter-finals in 2016 and 2017, respectively. But with momentum on the side, the home favourite will hope to lift the title this week after reaching his first ATP Masters 1000 final in Cincinnati as well as the Tokyo semi-finals. Goffin is in 10th place in the ATP Race To London.

6) Slam Champs & London Hopefuls In Doubles: Roland Garros titlists Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies, who also made the US Open semi-finals, are the top doubles seeds in Antwerp. The fifth-placed team in the ATP Doubles Race To London is trying to move closer to qualification for the Nitto ATP Finals, as is eighth-placed duo Rajeev Ram/Joe Salisbury (points after Shanghai). Ram and Salisbury are pursuing a London berth in their first year as a pair. 

1) Fabio’s Push:
Fabio Fognini became the third Italian man to crack the Top 10 of the ATP Rankings earlier this year, as well as the oldest player to break into the elite group for the first time since 1973. But now the 32-year-old has his sights set on a maiden berth into the singles field at the Nitto ATP Finals. He will enter his event in 11th place in the ATP Race To London.

2)Grigor Going For Glory: Grigor Dimitrov won his first ATP Tour title in Stockholm in 2013, and he accepted a wild card into the tournament this year. The Bulgarian has also made two additional finals at the event, and he looks to maintain the momentum from his season-changing run at the US Open, where he reached the semi-finals. Dimitrov can earn his 300th tour-level win against Sam Querrey or a qualifier in the second round.

3) Shapo Show: #NextGenATP Canadian Denis Shapovalov will try to reach his first ATP Tour final and lift his maiden trophy this week in Stockholm. The fourth seed has made the semi-finals in two of his past five tournaments (Winston-Salem, Chengdu).

Read More: Fognini, Dimitrov, Shapovalov Headline Stockholm Field; When Is The Draw & More

4) American Charge: Third seed Taylor Fritz and sixth seed Reilly Opelka, close friends who will also play doubles together in Stockholm, will try to make their mark at this indoor tournament. Fritz, who triumphed in Eastbourne earlier this year, will face Radu Albot or Yoshihito Nishioka in his opener. Opelka, the reigning New York Open champion, will face Italian Stefano Travaglia.

5) Ymer Brothers Fly Swedish Flag: Two of the three wild cards went to brothers: Elias Ymer and Mikael Ymer. Both siblings have made the second round in Stockholm previously. Mikael is at a career-high of No. 81 in the ATP Rankings, while older brother Elias, World No. 122, is trying to crack the Top 100 for the first time

6) The Doubles Race Is On: Two contending teams in the ATP Doubles Race To Milan are the first and second seeds, respectively, in Stockholm. Top seeds Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau, the 2015 Nitto ATP Finals winners, are currently in sixth place (with Shanghai points included), and second seeds Ivan Dodig and Filip Polasek will try to continue their charge, currently in ninth place in the Doubles Race.

Editor’s Note: This story, originally published on 12 October, was updated on 13 October to reflect that Kyle Edmund lost in Antwerp qualifying

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Pavic/Soares Lift Maiden Team Title In Shanghai

  • Posted: Oct 13, 2019

Pavic/Soares Lift Maiden Team Title In Shanghai

Eighth seeds did not drop a set en route to title

Competing in just their eighth event as a pairing, Mate Pavic and Bruno Soares captured their first team title at the Rolex Shanghai Masters on Sunday.

The Croatian-Brazilian team snapped defending champions Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo’s eight-match win streak at the ATP Masters 1000 event, breaking serve on three occasions to lift the trophy after 69 minutes. Pavic and Soares improve to 12-7 as a team since joining forces at the Fever-Tree Championships in June.

Pavic owns a 15-18 record in tour-level doubles finals after picking up his second ATP Tour crown of the year. The 26-year-old, who also triumphed in Geneva (w/Marach) in May, improves to 1-1 in Masters 1000 finals.

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Soares adds a third trophy to his collection this year, having also picked up ATP 250 crowns in Sydney (w/J. Murray) and Stuttgart (w/Peers). This is the Brazilian’s 32nd tour-level doubles title, with four of those title runs coming at Masters 1000 events.

The eighth seeds secured the only break of the first set in the third game, breaking Kubot’s serve to 15. Pavic fired multiple returns to the laces of the server and Soares anticipated well at the net throughout the game.

The second set followed a similar path, with Pavic and Soares breaking Kubot’s serve for a 2-1 lead. Pavic and Soares targeted the Pole at the net and lobbed with precision to earn the break. After doubling their advantage with a third break of the Kubot serve at 4-2, Soares secured the win with a powerful serve down the T.

Kubot and Melo were aiming to become the first team to win back-to-back titles at this tournament. The second seeds were competing in their 200th tour-level encounter as a pairing (140-60). On Friday, Kubot and Melo joined Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah as the second team to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals at The O2 in London.

Pavic and Soares earn 1000 ATP Doubles Ranking points and share $408,840 in prize money. Kubot and Melo receive 600 points and split $199,520.

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Darcis Announces Retirement Plans

  • Posted: Oct 12, 2019

Darcis Announces Retirement Plans

Belgian breaks the news on Saturday in Antwerp

After 16 years on Tour, Belgian Steve Darcis is bringing his fruitful career to a close.

The 35-year-old confirmed he plans to retire after next year’s Australian Open. He shared the news during Saturday’s draw ceremony at the European Open in Antwerp, which will be his final tournament on home soil.

“I made a successful comeback in 2019, but after Wimbledon, I got problems again with my shoulder. Mentally and physically, I’m no longer at my best,” Darcis said. “Plenty of strong career moments will stay with me forever and I hope to end the year in a nice way. This also goes for my last tournament here in Antwerp.”

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Darcis enjoyed a breakout year in 2017, reaching a career-high of No. 38 in the ATP Rankings, but was forced to miss the 2018 season due to an elbow injury. He returned this January and recorded his first ATP Tour semi-final in seven years at his first tournament back in Pune.

The Belgian has had several high-profile wins, but his biggest to date came against Rafael Nadal in the opening round at Wimbledon in 2013. At No. 135 in the ATP Rankings, Darcis was the lowest-ranked player at the time to defeat Nadal in a Grand Slam.

Darcis has received main draw singles and doubles wild cards this year in Antwerp. He’ll take on Frenchman Gilles Simon in the opening round and team with fellow Belgian Arnaud Bovy to face Maximo Gonzalez/Pablo Cuevas.

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Preview: Medvedev Seeks New Beginning Against Zverev In Shanghai Final

  • Posted: Oct 12, 2019

Preview: Medvedev Seeks New Beginning Against Zverev In Shanghai Final

Kubot/Melo face Pavic/Soares in Sunday doubles final

Monumental changes can happen in a year on the ATP Tour. Fifth seed Alexander Zverev was the highest-ranked player on Tour under age 24 just 12 months ago, but third seed Daniil Medvedev has assumed that role with his inspired tennis this season. The pair will add a new chapter to their budding rivalry when they meet on Sunday in the championship match of the Rolex Shanghai Masters.

“I did say before this year and during this year in the beginning that Sascha was the best in our [age] group. He won three [ATP] Masters [1000 titles] when none of us were even close to doing this,” Medvedev said. “The positions have changed a little bit, so I think I can contest him now.”

When it comes to FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalries, numbers can sometimes be deceiving. Zverev holds a flawless 4-0 record over Medvedev and will take extra confidence from all of their matches being contested on hard courts. But their most recent clash came last year in Toronto, when Medvedev was a qualifier sitting at No. 68 in the ATP Rankings.

Fourteen months later, Medvedev arrived in Shanghai as the more in-form player between the pair. He’s at a career-high standing of No. 4 in the ATP Rankings and has added five additional ATP Tour titles on his resume since their Toronto meeting, including his first ATP Masters 1000 crown in Cincinnati (d. Goffin) and maiden Grand Slam final at the US Open (l. to Nadal). He’s also through to his sixth consecutive tour-level final and is only the fifth active player to achieve the feat.

Most Tour-level Finals In 2019

Player Finals
Daniil Medvedev 9
Novak Djokovic 5
Rafael Nadal 5
Roger Federer 5
Dominic Thiem 5
Stefanos Tsitsipas 5

“He’s different this year than he was the previous years. The last time we played was in Toronto last year. So still a while ago, and he’s been playing some unbelievable tennis,” Zverev said. “In the past few months, he’s probably the best player in the world, making it to six finals in a row, winning an [ATP] Masters [1000 title], making it to the US Open final. He’s definitely been playing the best tennis of his life.”

The 23-year-old Medvedev continues to add to his astounding season. He has more wins (58) and more appearances in finals (9) than anyone else on Tour this year. The Russian has prevailed in 28 of his past 31 matches and is currently on an eight-match winning streak, all of which have come in straight sets. Medvedev believes his progress this season will enable him to approach Sunday’s final against Zverev with a clean slate.

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“I think the [record] doesn’t mean anything. It’s a new match, new situations,” Medvedev said. “This year, I had a lot of matches against opponents I don’t like. I remember one against Lucas Pouille. I was 4-0 down in the [FedEx ATP Head2Head] series and still won the match in Queen’s Club.”

Medvedev’s return game has been on point and will need to be equally impressive against Zverev. The third seed converted 10 of 21 break point chances this week, but Zverev’s serve is the toughest he’ll face in Shanghai. Merely blocking a return back will result in a prompt winner from the German.

Although Zverev is the first to admit that portions of his season haven’t met his lofty standards, he is back to his best tennis in Shanghai. The German scored his first Top 10 victory in a thrilling quarter-final over Roger Federer and put on a dominant display in his semi-final win over Matteo Berrettini,.

The fifth seed dropped just seven points on serve (40/47) against the Italian and didn’t face a break point. It’s a stark contrast to the serving woes he experienced during the North American hard-court swing, which included 20 double faults in his Cincinnati loss to #NextGenATP Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic.

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But Medvedev possesses a far different style of play to Zverev’s previous two opponents. Zverev beat Federer and Berrettini to the punch in battles of first-strike tennis, but will need to be more patient against Medvedev and accept that the Russian will retrieve many shots that would be winners against most players.

Sunday’s final will also be crucial for Zverev as he looks to qualify for the season-ending Nitto ATP Finals, held from 10-17 November at The O2 in London. Zverev, the defending champion, is currently seventh place in the ATP Race to London (2,855) and holds a healthy lead over eighth-placed Berrettini (2,525). He’ll pick up an additional 400 points with a win over Medvedev.

ATP Race To London (after Shanghai semi-finals)

 Player  Race Points
 7. Alexander Zverev   2,855
 8. Matteo Berrettini  2,525
 9. Roberto Bautista Agut  2,485
 10. David Goffin  2,325

The doubles final will feature second seeds and defending champions Lukasz Kubot/Marcelo Melo against eighth seeds Mate Pavic/Bruno Soares. Kubot/Melo defeated Soares/Jamie Murray in last year’s final.

Read More: Kubot/Melo Reach Third Straight Shanghai Final

The second seeds seek their second ATP Tour doubles title of the year after prevailing in August in Winston-Salem (d. Monroe/Sandgren). They’ve finished runner-up at three other events including Beijing (l. to Dodig/Polasek), Halle (l. to Klaasen/Venus) and Indian Wells (l. to Mektic/Zeballos). Kubot/Melo qualified for the Nitto ATP Finals on Friday with their quarter-final win over Ivan Dodig/Filip Polasek.

Pavic/Soares, who haven’t dropped a set this week, are looking for their first ATP Tour doubles title as a team. Pavic prevailed in Geneva (w/Marach), while Soares lifted titles in Sydney (w/J. Murray) and Stuttgart (w/Peers).

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Zverev On Medvedev: 'He's Probably The Best Player In The World'

  • Posted: Oct 12, 2019

Zverev On Medvedev: ‘He’s Probably The Best Player In The World’

The German will play for his fourth ATP Masters 1000 crown on Sunday

Three-time ATP Masters 1000 champion Alexander Zverev takes a 4-0 FedEx ATP Head2Head series lead over Daniil Medvedev into Sunday’s Rolex Shanghai Masters final. But the German knows that the Russian, who is now ranked higher than him, is not the same player he was in those four matches.

“In the past few months, he’s probably the best player in the world, making it to six finals in a row, winning a Masters [1000], making it to the US Open final,” Zverev said. “So he’s definitely been playing the best tennis of his life.”

Zverev has won eight of his nine previous sets against Medvedev. But this year’s Cincinnati champion has now made six consecutive tour-level finals, becoming only the fifth active player to do so.

“He’s different this year than he was the previous years,” Zverev said. “Yeah, I’ve got what, 4-0? Whatever. But it was quite a while ago. Last time we played was in Toronto last year. So still a while ago, and he’s been playing some unbelievable tennis.”

The German has found some of his best tennis this week, too, reaching his first Masters 1000 final of the year and his sixth overall. He had not advanced past the quarter-finals at this level or at a Grand Slam this year.

But in the quarter-finals, he beat Roger Federer for his first Top 10 victory of 2019 and then followed that with a straight-sets triumph against Matteo Berrettini, a fellow contender in the ATP Race To London. Zverev believes he knows what has made the difference in Shanghai.

“My serve, obviously also the mental factor of coming back after you beat Roger and still being focussed and playing still good tennis,” Zverev said. “It was a much different match than against Roger. I mean, he’s obviously serving 230 [km/h] sometimes and not a lot of rallies. But when we got into the rallies I felt okay. I take a lot of positives from this into the final tomorrow.”

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Zverev did not face a break point against Berrettini, the recent US Open semi-finalist. That was a marked improvement for the World No. 6, who was broken twice in each of his first three matches this week. And perhaps most importantly, he only struck one double fault, a far cry from the 17 he hit in his Flushing Meadows loss against Diego Schwartzman and the 20 he committed in a defeat to Miomir Kecmanovic in Cincinnati.

For Medvedev’s part, he knows the level of tennis Zverev is capable of, and he has held the 22-year-old in the highest regard.

“I did say before this year and during this year in the beginning that Sascha was the best in our, let’s say, Next Gen group. He won three Masters [1000 titles] when none of us were even close to doing this,” Medvedev said. “Positions has changed a little bit, so I think I can contest him right now.”

Zverev’s big week has also put him in a good position in the ATP Race To Milan. He has moved up from eighth place to seventh with his Shanghai efforts, and Zverev is 330 points ahead of eighth-placed Berrettini.

“It feels great, obviously. I felt like I’ve played some decent tennis this week and being in a Masters 1000 final here in Shanghai is also something very special for me,” Zverev said. “I’m looking forward to [the final] and hopefully I can play some good tennis tomorrow.”

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