In a battle of former Nitto ATP Finals champions, Daniil Medvedev continued his recent run of success against Alexander Zverev to become the first man to book a place in this year's Turin semi-finals.
The third seed edged his German opponent 7-6(7), 6-4 on Wednesday night, earning his fifth win in six Lexus ATP HeadHead matchups between the pair this season and improving to 11-7 overall against Zverev. Medvedev also moved to 3-2 against Zverev at the Nitto ATP Finals, with the pair nearing Pete Sampras and Boris Becker's record of seven matchups at the season finale.
“It was a very tough match mentally,” said Medvedev in his on-court interview. “I started very well, I was playing well. He was kind of not there yet, but at one moment he stepped up his game and at this moment, for whatever reason, I started playing a little bit worse for a short period of time.
“I’m happy that I managed to regroup and play better at the end of the first set. The end of both sets was very tight... In the tie-break he had set point on his serve. I’m happy because this year I might have lost some matches like this. I’m happy to be able to win.”
The 2020 Nitto ATP Finals champ beat the 2018 and 2021 titlist in a match of fine margins, with Medvedev saving two set points in a tense opening-set tie-break and fighting off a break point late in set two.
Medvedev was locked in from the first ball and eased to an early 2-0 lead, but Zverev came on strong from the middle of the opening set by countering Medvedev's metronomic baseline game with aggressive swings and well-times net approaches. The German missed a sitter volley that would have put him 5/1 up in the tie-break before both players traded costly miscues from 5/5 — Medvedev sailing an overhead long before Zverev flubbed a forehand on his first set point.
A moment of brilliance decided the set, when the ranging Medvedev lasered a down-the-line forehand that his opponent could not handle at the net.
Set two was ticking quickly towards a second tie-break with both players dominant on serve, until Medvedev fought off the first break point of the set to hold for 5-4. He opened the ensuing game with an ingenious lob off an overhead swing from beyond the baseline and closed out the match soon after, a brilliant backhand pass bringing up match point.
Marching into the 1/2 finals 👏— Tennis Insights (@tennis_insights) November 15, 2023
A 1% advantage #InAttack is not enough to overcome @DaniilMedwed with his impressive 44% #StealScore🛡️📈#TennisInsights | @atptour | #NittoATPFinals pic.twitter.com/HUfaEm6vKJ
Medvedev was dominant on first serve against Zverev, winning 40 of 51 points (78%) when landing his first delivery. He also saved three of four break points against him while converting on both of his break chances — in the first and final game of the one-hour, 45-minute match.
The statistics show that Zverev was the aggressor for most of the match with 26 winners and an 18-of-31 success rate on net approaches. But Medvedev's performance in the clutch moments — on break points and late in both sets — made the difference.
“I saw his match today against Andrey and he played much better than in the first match," Medvedev said of the Spaniard. "He was missing less, doing amazing winners from far out like he can. I hope that I feel good tomorrow and I’m ready to fight. This tournament is tricky, because I’m into the semis, but you want to keep the rhythm.”