Djokovic Gets Retirement From Medvedev, Will Face Tsitsipas In Astana Final; Fritz-Tiafoe In Tokyo
The big Novak Djokovic – Daniil Medvedev semifinal clash was matching the hype until the Russian retired at 6-4, 6-7(6).
Djokovic dropped the first then won the breaker before Medvedev retired with a leg injury, denying a third set.
“I really hope that his injury is nothing too serious,” said Djokovic after. “I know Daniil, he’s a great guy, he’s a fighter, he’s a big competitor. He wouldn’t retire a match if he didn’t feel that he continue or worsen his injury. He told me that he pulled an adductor muscle in his leg.
“It was such a close match, particularly in the second set. I would probably say he was a better player on the court in both sets. I was fighting and trying to find a way. I found a way to win the second, but I’m just sad for the tournament and for these people who were enjoying the battle, and for Daniil that it had to end this way.”
In their first meeting of the year, there were three straight breaks of serve in the first which eventually went to Medvedev.
In a break-less second, it was Djokovic taking command in the breaker, using his drop shot to level things.
“We played a lot of drop shots once the balls got really big and fluffy and I couldn’t really penetrate through him,” Djokovic said. “He’s like a wall. I’ve been in those shoes myself throughout my career, that players thought they couldn’t put a ball past me, but now I [know] how it feels when someone who really doesn’t make mistakes is on the opposite side of the net. He just makes you work really hard for every single point.
“The conditions here are playing a bit slower, actually a lot slower than last week in Israel where I played, so I had to adjust and against a player like Daniil, you’re just not going to have many free points. Actually, maybe none. So you just have to work your way all the time.
In the final, Djokovic will take on Stefanos Tsitsipas who advanced past Andrey Rublev 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.
“I hit with a lot of variation and mixing and it went my way towards the end,” Tsitsipas said on court. “I stayed completely within my game. There were a few things I worked out.
“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.”
Djokovic leads the Greek 7-2.
Tsitsipas has never won an ATP 500 level event. Djokovic has won his last 15 matches in tournament play.
In the Tokyo final, a 24-year-old American will win the title as Frances Tiafoe takes on Taylor Fritz. Tiafoe topped Soonwoo Kown 6-2, 0-6, 6-4 and then Fritz rallied from 1-3 down in the third to defeat Denis Shapovalov 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-3.
“It’s always very tight when we play each other,” said Fritz. “We’ve been really close friends for a long time and it’s one of those things where we’re really close friends but we’re also rivals, as well. I feel like there’s been this ongoing rivalry between us since we were probably 16 or 17 years old.
“It’ll be fun. There’s always tension when we play. It’s going to be a good match.”
Added Tiafoe, “I love that guy. I’m happy to see what he’s been able to do, with him having COVID and all that in Korea,” he said. “It goes to show what a competitor he is, That’s what would make it so tough. He’s a great competitor, he serves well, he has a huge forehand, and he’s confident and getting better, too. I hope I end up playing him. I think it will be good.
“Let the best man win.”
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