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Medvedev Ends Season on 10-match Winning Streak after Outlasting Thiem for London ATP Finals title

Daniil Medvedev made history as the first man to beat the world’s top three-ranked players en route to the ATP Finals championship.

By Ricky Dimon

Daniil Medvedev went 0-3 in round-robin play at the 2019 Nitto ATP Finals and ended that season on a four-match losing streak overall.

What a difference a year makes.

This time around, Medvedev powered his way to a perfect 5-0 record inside the O2 Arena and capped off a season-ending 10-match winning streak with a 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-4 victory over Dominic Thiem in the London final on Sunday evening. The Russian, who also triumphed at the Paris Masters earlier this month, survived the longest best-of-three final in this tournament’s history (two hours and 42 minutes).

For Thiem, it was another heartbreaking London title match. Last year he finished runner-up to Stefanos Tsitsipas following a 6-7(6), 6-2, 7-6(4) thriller and against Medvedev he also put himself in the driver’s seat with an impressive first set. In fact, Thiem arguably came even closer to the trophy this time. The Austrian had a golden chance for a break midway through the second set but pushed a forehand pass wide after Medvedev had made a kamikaze net charge on a second serve. Thiem also took a quick 2-0 lead in the ensuing tiebreaker only to see his opponent reel off seven points in succession.

In the third, Medvedev finally securing that one elusive service break proved to be the difference. It came at 2-2, when the world No. 4 converted his ninth opportunity of the match. From there he had no trouble consolidating it, as Medvedev lost a mere five points on serve throughout the decider.

Thiem had few regrets despite once again coming tantalizingly close to the trophy.

“It was a great level all three sets long,” said Dominic Thiem after bowing to Daniil Medvedev 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-4 in the ATP Finals.

“In general, I think two guys faced off (against) each other today in great form,” the reigning U.S. Open champion explained. “It was a great level all three sets long. There is actually only one shot which I really regret–at 2-1 in the tiebreak where I hit a great return and then played a stupid forehand. But besides that, I cannot really regret something…. Yesterday was on the edge; today was on the edge. I can only say well done to him.

“Probably if you look at the whole tournament, he was the best player. He didn’t lose a set in the group stage. (He) beat the No. 2 and No. 3 players in the world in the semis and in the final, so he definitely deserved that title.”

Official Dunlop ATP Finals ball.

Prior to beating Nadal in the semis (also from a set down), Medvedev erased world No. 1 Novak Djokovic during round-robin competition. All in all, the 24-year-old’s 5-0 record inside the O2 included wins over the world No. 1, world No. 2, world No. 3, world No. 7, and world No. 9.

“It is amazing,” Medvedev. “To be honest, to win it means that you beat everybody who is top 10, when you win [this tournament]. But also, yeah, in the group I beat Novak, then Rafa in the semis, and Dominic in the final–best players in the world.”

“I think it was the toughest victory in my life because Dominic is a really tough player to play. I think today he was at his best. I don’t know, maybe it’s not the case–but that’s what I felt during the match. He was really close to winning it…. He’s just an amazing player with many more titles to come probably. Hopefully we can have a lot more matches on the big stage.”

If this week–and really the entirety of the last two tennis seasons–is any indication, a lot more Medvedev-Thiem finals are definitely in store.

Ricky contributes to10sballs.com