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Basilashvili Beats Roger Federer and Wins Doha, Medvedev Solidifies No. 2 Ranking with Marseille Title

Nikoloz Basilashvili saved a match point to top Roger Federer then defeated Roberto Bautista Agut to capture the Doha title. EPA-EFE/KOEN SUYK

By Ricky Dimon

In one of the most surprising ATP tournament results in recent memory, Nikoloz Basilashvili won the Qatar ExxonMobil Open on Saturday.

Heading into Doha, Basilashvili had been 4-17 in his last 21 matches and had not defeated anyone in the top 260 since last February. From completely out of nowhere, the Georgian found his level to defeat John Millman, Malek Jaziri, Roger Federer (saved one match point), Taylor Fritz, and Roberto Bautista Agut. In Sunday’s final against Bautista Agut, Basilashvili did not face a single break point while triumphing 7-6(5), 6-2 in one hour and 28 minutes.

“I am somehow managing to play good in tougher conditions and tougher matches,” the 29-year-old explained. “This tournament was one of the toughest ATP 250s I have ever seen. We had three top 10 players. It is interesting why I am playing good in the big tournaments and big matches. (It’s) surprising. At the same time, (I am) happy.”

Daniil Medvedev is one guy who seemingly plays well at every tournament, no matter the size. The two-time Grand Slam runner-up and reigning Nitto ATP Finals champion lifted the Marseille trophy on Sunday afternoon. Medvedev ended the run of a red-hot Pierre-Hugues, surviving a high-quality final 6-4, 6-7(4), 6-4 after two hours and all minutes.

It is the Russian’s 10th title of his career.

Daniil Medvedev won his 10th career title in Marseille. Photo credit: Open Provence 13 Facebook

“I am really happy about the number 10,” Medvedev assured. “It gets me to two digits, something which I dreamt of when I was a kid. I think it is already a great number, but I am going to try to work more and get some more…. I really like to play on hard courts. I feel like that is where my game suits me the best. I feel like I know the solutions I have to find during the match and that is what I did today.”

Regardless of his result in Marseille, Medvedev was always going to become No. 2 in the world on Monday. Doing so in style, though, makes passing Rafael Nadal in the rankings that much sweeter.

“I am really happy,” he said. “It is always better when you step up the rankings when you do something great. I know that winning here didn’t give me the points to become No. 2, but it is great for the self-esteem that just before becoming No. 2 on Monday, I win a tournament.”

The 25-year-old will take next week off, while Basilashvili and Bautista Agut are staying in the Middle East and taking their talents to Dubai.

Ricky contributes to10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.