Superb Sinner Sinks Medvedev To Reach Turin Final
Jannik Sinner’s late-year surge has taken him to the brink of Nitto ATP Finals glory.
The Italian delivered a gutsy semi-final display Saturday at the prestigious season finale to overcome Daniil Medvedev 6-3, 6-7(4), 6-1 and book his spot in the championship match. Faced with an elite opponent and the expectations of an adoring home crowd, Sinner delivered a largely ice-cool display packed with clean baseline hitting to extend his unbeaten week in Turin.
"[It is an] incredible feeling," said the 22-year-old Sinner. "It was a really tough match today. I felt that he was playing more aggressively, especially in the first set. Somehow I made the break and from that point I felt better. The second set was really tight but then he played a very good tie-break. In the third set I just tried to stay a bit more aggressive and mixing up my game a little bit. I am happy to be in the final."
Sinner needed to stay at his best throughout the two-hour, 29-minute clash to down the typically resilient Medvedev. Crucially, the 22-year-old reacted superbly to the disappointment of losing the second-set tie-break, as he marched through the decider to cap a victory in which he won 83 per cent (50/60) of points behind his first serve.
After not beating Medvedev in the pair’s first six tour-level meetings, Sinner is now 3-6 in their Lexus ATP Head2Head series, having also defeated his rival to become champion in both Beijing and Vienna in October. The turnaround of his matchup with Medvedev has been part of a wider streak of red-hot form for Sinner, who is 17-1 since the US Open.
Awaiting Sinner in Sunday’s final will be Novak Djokovic or Carlos Alcaraz, who meet in another blockbuster semi-final on Saturday night inside the Pala Alpitour. The Italian won his most recent Lexus ATP Head2Head clash with both of his potential championship-match opponents — he defeated World No. 1 Djokovic for the first time in four tour-level meetings in a group-stage clash on Tuesday in Turin, while he prevailed against Alcaraz in the Beijing semi-finals in October.
Should Sinner go on to beat Djokovic or Alcaraz and lift the trophy, he will become the first Italian winner in the 54-year history of the Nitto ATP Finals. He would also take home US$4,801,500, the biggest payday in tennis history, by becoming undefeated champion in Turin.
"It is a privilege to have this kind of pressure," said Sinner, when asked about his home support. "Even the week before this event I felt really good on this court. It is quite fast. The crowd has given me so much energy."
It was Medvedev who settled more quickly into Saturday’s afternoon semi-final. The World No. 3 dominated the early baseline exchanges and carved out the first break point of the match in the third game. Sinner held firm, however, and then found a high-quality moment in the next game that appeared to flick a switch inside him.
Medvedev was serving at 40/0 when Sinner crushed a huge backhand down-the-line winner, and the home favourite reeled off the four following points to clinch a crucial break. The Italian, who also broke from 40/0 down against Djokovic earlier this week, dialled in on serve and looked untroubled as he went on to take the opening set having won 89 per cent (17/19) of points behind his first delivery.
Despite that disappointment, Medvedev continued to push Sinner with his trademark consistency and deep groundstrokes into the second set, but the Italian showed few signs of cracking. At 3-4 and 15/30 down on his own serve, Sinner beat Medvedev at his own game for two crucial points in a row, outlasting the World No. 3 in extended baseline rallies. Although he still faced a break point at 40/A, the Italian dug deep to escape the game.
Medvedev’s persistence was finally rewarded in the second-set tie-break, however, as he capitalised on a fast start to force a decider and dampen the spirits of the home fans. Yet the 26-year-old was unable to maintain that momentum into the third set. He saved two break points from 0-1, 15/40 but, when faced with a third in the same game, he gambled on a big second serve and went long to gift Sinner an early advantage in the decider.
From there, Sinner took command and offered an increasingly frustrated Medvedev few opportunities to mount a comeback. The Italian clinched a second break of the set in the sixth game before serving out to love and raising his arms to the joyous home crowd.