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Medvedev Rolls into Turin Tennis Final, Djokovic Upset by Zverev in Second Semifinal on Saturday

Daniil Medvedev of Russia reacts during his semi final match against Casper Ruud of Norway at the Nitto ATP Finals tennis tournament in Turin, Italy, 20 November 2021. EPA-EFE/Alessandro Di Marco



By Ricky Dimon

Daniil Medvedev has played his way into a second consecutive Nitto ATP Finals championship match. And for the second straight time, he won’t be facing a Big 3 opponent.

Medvedev kicked off semifinal Saturday in Turn with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Casper Ruud before Alexander Zverev defeated Novak Djokovic 7-6(4), 4-6, 6-3. The second-ranked Russian, who beat Dominic Thiem in the 2020 final, is now on a nine-match winning streak at the year-end championship.

Each of Medvedev’s three round-robin efforts earlier this week required three sets, but it was smooth sailing for him from start to finish against Ruud. The 25-year-old won 84 percent of his first-serve points and did not face a single break point while cruising in one hour and 19 minutes.

Daniil Medvedev of Russia in action against Casper Ruud of Norway during their semi final match of the Nitto ATP Finals tennis tournament in Turin, Italy, 20 November 2021. EPA-EFE/Alessandro Di Marco

“As soon as you are a set and a break up, you feel like you are in control,” Medvedev explained. “But that is when the danger is. You need to stay focused and fight for every point. In the last game I had 0-30 on my serve, and until the last point it is never over. So I am happy I was able to finish it.”

As expected, Djokovic vs. Zverev was by far the tougher and more entertaining semifinal.

Alexander Zverev of Germany celebrates after winning the semi final match against Novak Djokovic of Serbia of the Nitto ATP Finals tennis tournament in Turin, Italy, 20 November 2021. EPA-EFE/ALESSANDRO DI MARCO

It was Zverev who started strong by coming out on top of what was surely one of tennis’ best sets in 2021. The third-ranked German survived it in a tiebreaker, with both men holding serve the entire way while engaging in incredible baseline rallies in addition to some clutch net play by Djokovic. Although the world No. 1’s level wasn’t quite enough to take the opener, it eventually earned him the first break of the night at 4-4 in set two. He then survived a trio of deuces at 5-4, finally converting his fifth set point.

In the decider, the crucial moments came in the fourth and seventh games. Zverev broke for a 3-1 advantage and then fought off a break point to consolidate for 5-2. The 24-year-old held to love at 5-3 to clinch victory in style.



“Every time we play it takes hours,” Zverev said of his rivalry with Djokovic. “I have not spent more time on court with anybody other than him this year. I am happy with the win and happy to be in the final here and to give myself the best chance for tomorrow.”

Novak Djokovic of Serbia (R) congratulates Alexander Zverev of Germany at the end of the semi final match of the Nitto ATP Finals tennis tournament in Turin, Italy, 20 November 2021. EPA-EFE/ALESSANDRO DI MARCO



Zverev is also bidding for his second Nitto ATP Finals title, having lifted the trophy in 2018.

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.