Medvedev Seals SF Berth In Turin
In the latest chapter of their rivalry, reigning champion Daniil Medvedev earned a hard-fought 6-3, 6-7(3), 7-6(6) win over Alexander Zverev Tuesday at the Nitto ATP Finals to qualify for the semi-finals as he moved to 2-0 in Red Group action.
The World No. 2 downed Hubert Hurkacz in his opening match and backed that up against the German as he struck the ball with consistent depth and recovered from a dip in the second set, soaking up Zverev’s heavy-hitting to secure victory after two hours and 35 minutes in an entertaining match in Turin. With his triumph against Zverev, Medvedev has moved level with the 24-year-old on a tour-leading 56 wins this season.
“Definitely one of the matches to remember,” Medvedev said. “When you win 8/6 in the tie-break in the third, it was 4/2 for him so I was like okay, he serves a few aces it’s done. I made it 6/4 and I was like okay, that’s my moment now. It’s back to 6/6, you get really tight, because I wanted to make a brave move on the 6/5 second serve and volley, didn’t work out at all.
“He made an amazing shot. You are like maybe I should have stayed at the baseline. If I lose the match because of this it’s going to be tough… Just an amazing feeling. Not actually much to say about the match, just amazing.”
The Russian, who edged Dominic Thiem to win the title at the season finale last year, has secured top spot in Red Group after Matteo Berrettini withdrew due to injury. Alternate Jannik Sinner will now face Hurkacz on Tuesday evening.
Medvedev now leads Zverev 6-5 in their ATP Head2Head series, having won his past five matches against the World No. 3, including victories in Australia and Paris this year. The pair also met in the round-robin stage at the season finale in 2020, with Medvedev triumphing 6-3, 6-4.
"Sometimes that’s how tennis is," Medvedev added. "You just try to do your best. Sometimes luck is on your side, sometimes not. Sometimes it’s more than just luck. I just try to do my best and I’m really happy the past seven matches went in my favour."
Earlier this season, the second seed captured his fourth ATP Masters 1000 crown in Toronto, before he ended Novak Djokovic’s Grand Slam hopes in the US Open final to win his maiden major title. Medvedev arrives in Turin following a run to the championship match in Paris.
In a lively start, Medvedev played the big points better as he fended off three break points across his opening two service games and broke Zverev to soar 3-0 ahead. The Russian closed the net effectively throughout the first set, stepping forward to dictate in the fast conditions.
After clinching the opener in 37 minutes, Medvedev continued to push Zverev in the second set with his flat groundstrokes. But the German held firm, saving all three break points he faced in the set as the pair moved to a tie-break. Medvedev was then punished for second-serve foot fault at 1/1 and briefly lost his focus as Zverev levelled, with the German raising his arms to further engage the raucous crowd as he marched back to his chair.
Both players were strong on serve in the decider as they played aggressively, with Medvedev saving the only break point of the set at 5-5, 30/40 when Zverev hit a forehand long. In a tense tie-break, Medvedev found a deep return on his backhand to move 6/4 ahead, but Zverev stepped up to save both match points. However, it only delayed the outcome, with Medvedev sealing victory on his third match point when Zverev hit a backhand into the net.
Medvedev serve and volleyed twice in the third-set tie-break, including on his second match point at 6/5, but won neither point.
“I lost both of them, so I guess it was a bad choice,” Medvedev said. “I want to stand here and say I was so brave and showed big guts, but I lost two points, so no. It was a bad choice. I decided it was a good choice to make against Sascha and it didn’t work out. But I am happy I managed to continue to go for my shots.”
The World No. 3, who has captured five tour-level trophies this season, is now 1-1 in Red Group play and faces Hurkzcz in his final round-robin match. Zverev is aiming to replicate his 2018 Nitto ATP Finals title run this week at the Pala Alpitour.