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Sweet 16: Medvedev Beats Sinner for Rotterdam ABN AMRO Open Title

ROTTERDAM, NETHERLANDS – FEBRUARY 19: (L to R) Jannik Sinner of Italy, tournament director and former Wimbledon champion Richard Krajicek and Daniil Medvedev pose for a photo after the Men’s Singles Final on the seventh and final day of the 50th ABN AMRO Open 2023 at Rotterdam Ahoy on February 19, 2023 in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

The specter Daniil Medvedev cast across the Rotterdam court challenged Jannik Sinner.

In the end, a spooked Sinner looked like a boxer trying to knock out a ghost: the harder he swung, the more Medvedev menaced him with counterstrikes he couldn’t see coming.

Operating from obscure court positions, Medvedev stopped Sinner 5-7, 6-2, 6-2 in an absorbing Rotterdam ABN AMRO Open final to capture his 16th career championship.

A precise Medvedev maintained his mastery of the talented Italian defeating Sinner for the fifth time in as many meetings. Medvedev snapped the Montpellier champion’s seven match winning streak, while scoring his 10th straight ATP 500-level victory.

It is Medvedev’s eighth indoor title and first ATP championship since he defeated Dominic Thiem, Sinner, Grigor Dimitrov and Denis Shapovalov to win Vienna in the last week of October.

Dropping the opening set of this Rotterdam tournament to Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, Medvedev proceeded to slay any ghosts of self doubt defeating Davidovich Fokina, Botic van de Zandschulp, defending-champion Felix Auger-Aliassime to snap a nine-match losing streak vs. Top 10 opponents, Grigor Dimitrov in the semifinals and Sinner today.

“Definitely congrats for last week and this week, Jannik, you and your team,” Medvedev said. “You guys are doing an amazing job, really hard workers. I think you have a lot more years to win this tournament and many more and Grand Slams and all this stuff like this. Good luck to you, I’m really happy to play you in the final.”

Medvedev looks like Medvedev again and this inspired Rotterdam run puts him right back in the Top 10 at No. 8 in the live rankings, while Sinner moves up to No. 12.

Despite the straightforward scoreline of the last two sets, this final featured some crackling baseline exchanges with both men hitting some eye-popping running winners.

“The level of tennis you showed this week I think is one of the best editions we have had in our 50-year history,” Rotterdam tournament director and former Wimbledon champion Richard Krajicek said afterward. “I’m happy I was born when I was born so I don’t have to play you guys.”

The talented Italian faced just eight break points en route to this final, but Medvedev applied pressure as the match progressed converting five of 12 break points in the final.

Aggressive baseliner Sinner moved fluidly throughout the tournament and has worked with coach Darren Cahill on refining his transition game. Sinner attacked effectively at times today winning 17 of 26 trips to net compared to 7 of 10 for Medvedev, but trying to hit through Medvedev on an indoor hard court can be an exercise in futility when he’s on his game.

If Sinner is to break through and beat Medvedev in the future, he must be willing to close at net at crunch time, bring Medvedev in on occasion (as he did at times today though the Russian ran down some drop shots) and explore some shorter, sharper angles, which he can do especially on his two-handed backhand, to spread the court.