Daniil Medvedev ends Novak Djokovic’s winning streak to prepare for the Dubai final with Andrey Rublev Sport-rated
Daniil Medvedev appears to be back to his best form by ending Novak Djokovic’s unbeaten 15-0 start to the season with a 6-4, 6-4 win over the world number one on Friday. After briefly falling outside the top 10 for the first time since July 2019, Medvedev has returned to that elite qualifying group, winning his last 13 matches, in an 18-day period, to set up an All-Russian Dubai final against the defending champion. Andrey Rublev.
Medvedev had lost their last four meetings with Djokovic, who was riding a 20-match winning streak dating back to last year’s ATP Finals, before entering the contest.
The 27-year-old is looking to win a third title in as many weeks, having won trophies in Rotterdam and Doha in the build-up to Dubai.
“Every time I beat Novak it’s an incredible feeling. He’s probably the best tennis player of all time,” Medvedev said.
“Any time it gives you that extra confidence boost, like, ‘Wow, I was able to beat Novak, I sure can beat anyone.'”
Djokovic regretted his 14 unforced errors, twice as many as his opponent, but said he leaves Dubai with a lot of positives, feeling physically strong after recovering from a torn left hamstring.
His participation in Indian Wells, which begins on March 8, remains in doubt as the Serb, who has not been vaccinated against the coronavirus, awaits to learn whether the US has been granted a visa waiver.
“I’m still waiting for the news from the United States,” he said.
“If there’s no America, I guess I’ll play clay. Monte Carlo is probably the next tournament. If that’s the case, I’ll take some time off, prepare.”
Djokovic will know one way or another about his chances to play in the United States on Monday when the draw for the Indian Wells event takes place.
In front of a full house in Dubai, Medvedev opened up a double-break lead and despite being stopped by Djokovic by recovering one of the breaks, the world number seven successfully served out the 39-minute set on his second attempt.
Djokovic repeatedly hit his forehand, helping Medvedev claim a break early in the second set.
Medvedev maintained his lead and grabbed his first match point with a drop shot that brought the crowd to its feet.
The former world number one seized his first opportunity to book his place in the final.
He takes a record 4-2 head-to-head lead over Rublev in their matchup on Saturday.
This week, Rublev attempts to successfully defend one of his 12 career titles for the first time.
The second-seeded Russian sealed his ticket to the championship match with his first win in six tour-level meetings with Alexander Zverev.
Benefiting from 39 unforced errors from Zverev’s racket, Rublev needed six match points to defeat the former US Open finalist 6-3, 7-6 (11/9) in just under two hours.
The pair traded breaks early on before Rublev consolidated for 4-2 and the Russian fired a brutal forehand winner to close out the first set in 47 minutes.
It was the first set Rublev had taken from Zverev at tour level. He was 0-11 in sets against the German before the clash.
The second set saw no breaks of serve as Zverev saved a match point in game 12 and hit back-to-back aces to hold it 6-1.
The No.7 seed saved five more match points in the breaker, but Rublev converted his sixth to reach a second consecutive final in Dubai.
“I’m happy that I was mentally stable today, especially in the tiebreaker because I was able to be there, play well,” Rublev said.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)
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