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Daniil Medvedev earns his first Nitto ATP Finals victory by defeating Alexander Zverev.

Medvedev Has Answers For Zverev... Again

Russian beats 2018 champion in straight sets

Daniil Medvedev beat Alexander Zverev just eight days ago in the Rolex Paris Masters final. On Monday they were at a new venue. The result, however, remained the same.

Medvedev beat Zverev 6-3, 6-4 to earn his first victory at the Nitto ATP Finals, joining Novak Djokovic with a 1-0 record atop Group Tokyo 1970.

“Confidence is the key, for sure. Winning an [ATP] Masters [1000] always helps for the confidence,” Medvedev said in an on-court interview. “I knew that I can play good. It was a little bit shaky from both of us in the beginning from one [point] of view, but from the other [point] of view, I think there were some unbelievable points. To be honest, the intensity of the match was one of the most [intense] I had in my career."

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The Russian doesn’t have to worry about going winless at the season finale for the second consecutive year. The 24-year-old is off to a good start in trying to become the fourth player to win the Nitto ATP Finals following a winless debut (Djokovic, Stich, Edberg).

"When you play a Top 10 opponent [in the] first match of the tournament, you have to be there all the time," Medvedev said. "That is what I managed to do, actually. I just lost one service [game] in the first game of the match. Finally, when you win it, you can say, ‘Okay, that was just the start.’ I am happy about my [performance].”

Medvedev had to grit his teeth to rally from a set down against the German in the Bercy final. And although Zverev’s second-serve performance was not ideal in that match — he only won 35 per cent of points behind his second delivery and struck three double faults in Paris — it was much more problematic in London for the 2018 champion

Zverev hit four double faults in his first two service games at The O2 to set the tone, and he never found a rhythm behind his second serve. Whenever the fifth seed missed a first serve against the Russian, he was under enormous pressure, and that largely contributed to his downfall. Medvedev won 79 per cent of his second-serve return points (15/19) en route to his one-hour, 29-minute victory.

Medvedev and Zverev both stand 6’6”, but their clash at the season finale became more of a battle of who survived his service games. There were 15 break points in the match, with the Russian saving five of the six break points he faced.

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Zverev battled hard despite his second-serve woes, letting out a big “come on!” after digging out of a 0/30 deficit at 1-1 in the second set. But a dumped forehand into the net at 3-3 to give up a break was the nail in the coffin.

Medvedev noticed Zverev back up well behind the baseline to return serve as the match wore on, and he snuck an underarm serve at 4-3, 30/30 to avoid facing a break point. He held that service game and then closed out the match to love, completing his triumph with a leaping backhand winner.

“I didn’t want to disrespect him in any way. That is why I did it at 30/30 [and] not at 40/0,” Medvedev said. “Before the serve, my wide serve was not working as well as I would have liked it to today and he was returning good. So I was like, ‘I’m going to go for the T, probably.’ Then I saw that he was like five metres behind the baseline and I had the ball close to my racquet. So I am like, ‘Okay, go for it.’ That was the move, just to win the point.

"It actually worked, he made a good ball back, because he could have missed it. It could have even been an ace, but I am happy that it worked because that is also smart.”

Did You Know?
Medvedev is the first Russian to compete at the Nitto ATP Finals in consecutive seasons since Nikolay Davydenko made five straight appearances in 2005-09. He has now won four consecutive sets against Zverev.

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