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.
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).
Just more than a week ago, 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.
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 on 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.
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.
Source: Tennis – ATP World Tour