Daniil Medvedev extended his Lexus ATP Head2Head advantage in his longrunning rivalry with Alexander Zverev on Tuesday to advance to China Open final.
With a 6-4, 6-3 victory, Medvedev advanced to his eighth tour-level final of the season. Already owning a personal-best five titles this year, he will seek to add to that tally against Jannik Sinner in Wednesday's final.
"It's an amazing, strong field so it's great to be in the final against one of the amazing Sinner or Alcaraz," he said post-match, before Sinner's 7-6(4), 6-1 victory against the Spaniard.
"I'm really happy with my level. Roof closed, different conditions today, much faster. Both of us are big servers so it came down to just a few opportunities and I managed to serve better when I had break points to save than he did."
Medvedev improves to 10-7 in his series with Zverev, including a 4-1 mark this season. He has now won five of their past six meetings and nine of their last 11 following an 0-4 start in the Lexus ATP Head2Head. His Beijing victory also served as a measure of revenge after Zverev won their most recent previous meeting in Cincinnati.
In a semi-final filled with lung-busting rallies, Medvedev saved all four break points he faced (two in each set) with strong serving, and he secured a late break in each set to earn the win. The second seed claimed both breaks in style with a pair of clutch passing shots, including on set point in the opening set.
"In a way it's a lucky shot because you're not going to make it 10 out of 10. On a good day, maybe five out of 10. But still, you usually don't hit it maybe twice in a match," Medvedev said of the shot that sealed the first set.
"I felt that he might go down the line so I just ran for it — and I knew that if I give him the volley from that position then I have no chance, so I had to go for the winner. I made this banana shot which I don't do that often, so I'm really happy with this one."
The second seed finished with 20 winners and 13 unforced errors. His unrelenting defence frustrated Zverev, who hit just 10 winners to 20 unforced errors.
Through to his 35th tour-level final, Medvedev is bidding for his 21st title across as many different events. Zverev, who won the Chengdu title last week, saw his seven-match winning streak come to an end as he fell short in his effort to reach his third final of the season (2-0).
While Medvedev has already clinched his place at the Nitto ATP Finals, Zverev cemented his seventh-place standing in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin with his Beijing semi-final run. He now has a 305-point cushion ahead of the eighth-placed Holger Rune.
Did You Know?
The five Lexus ATPHead2Head meetings this season between Medvedev and Zverev are the most for any opponents.