After a tough 13 months or so, Daniil Medvedev might be back to his best form. Today, the Russian handed world No. 1 Novak Djokovic his first loss of the season in convincing fashion 6-4, 6-4 to reach his first final in Dubai.
The Russian has now won his last 13 matches and he snapped Djokovic’s 20-match win streak, giving Djokovic his first loss of the season after a 15-0 start.
“When you play against Novak you just have to play your best,” Medvedev said to the ATP. “Kind of hope he doesn’t play his best on the day because when he plays his best, well he has 22 Grand Slams, so even if you play your best, it is going to be tough, not sure you win.
“I managed to play a higher level than him today. In the second set I didn’t face one break point, but there were so many 30-30 games. But I managed to stay composed and I am happy to be in the final tomorrow.”
Djokovic had led Medvedev 9-4 in their head-to-head entering winning the last four. But 38 unforced errors cost the Serb today.
The 27-year-old Medvedev hit eight aces, was 3 of 4 on break chances, faced 1 break chance. He was broken once, Medvedev broke serve three times in the match.
After an even start, Medvedev broke for 3-2 and pulled away to 5-2 before Djokovic got one break back. In the second, Medvedev converted the lone break point of the set to grab a quick break in the opening game.
“I lost to a better opponent,” Djokovic told the ATP in press. “I know that I didn’t play well in some decisive moments, but it was also due to his quality of tennis. It’s unfortunate I had some really bad mistakes in the first set to give him the second break. But this is tennis. You learn from your mistakes and from the defeats, and hopefully next time I’ll be better.”
“He extracts and provokes unforced errors from everybody because that’s his game, that’s what he does,” he added. “He does it extremely well. He’s very patient. He’s very athletic. For his height, he moves well. Backhand is one of the most consistent strokes that you have in today’s game.”
With Djokovic still now allowed into the U.S., he’ll likely be off until Monte Carlo.
“I’m still waiting for the news from America,” said Djokovic. “If there’s no America, I guess I’ll play clay. Monte Carlo is probably the next tournament. If that’s the case, I’ll take some time off, I’ll prepare. Clay is the most demanding surface. It takes more time than any other surface to prepare for.”
Medvedev, who hasn’t dropped a set this week, will now face good friend Andrey Rublev in the final for a chance at his 18th career title and third straight during this streak.. The defending champion topped 7th-seeded Alexander Zverev 6-3, 7-6(11-9). Rublev took the match on his sixth match point, fifth in the second set breaker.
“I was thinking it was going to be a third set. I was preparing mentally for the third set but I somehow saved a set point,” Rublev said. “I had a couple of match points but he played well but in the end at 9-9, I made a good return and then I said ‘Ok, let’s try to make it here’. I won a crazy rally and I was lucky. It was a super intense tiebreak.”
Zverev was playing his first ATP semifinal since the French Open. He suffers his first loss to Rublev in six meetings. He had previous won all 11 sets against the Russian.
Rublev advances his 18th career final. He is looking for his 13th career title.
Medvedev is ahead of Rublev 4-2 in their tour-level collisions. But Rublev took their most recent contest at 2022 Tour Finals in the round robin stage.
“Daniil, he plays really low and flat,” Rublev said. “Daniil is like the one that counterattacks, waits for the right moment. It’s going to be maybe 30 shots rally.”
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Hahaha Hopefully first loss of many more to come! 🙏🏼
March 4th, 2023 at 4:42 am