In a dark and eerie auditorium, the final of the Paris Masters resembled a bareboned, un-atmospheric comparison to its 2019 namesake.
With only officials, coaching teams, and camera crews allowed into the stadium, Daniil Medvedev and Alexander Zverev still managed to put on an enthralling show, with Medvedev coming back from one set down to emphatically beat Zverev 5-7 6-4 6-1 in the final two sets.
Minus the electricity of the fans, the players still managed to put on an enthralling show and gave us a glimpse of a rivalry that is set to dominate tennis for the next 10 years.
“I’m sure we’ll play many more matches together. We’ve known each other since we were 10, it’s great the journey we’re having.”Zverev said in a post match interview.
Both players started the match strong, demonstrating their sheer power batting back forehand after forehand while showing off some skill to delicately slice and chip the ball over the net to lure their opponent into a compromising position.
It was pure eye candy for the tennis neutrals.
But it was Zverev who took first blood, letting out a huge roar that echoed around the empty Palais Omnisports arena, after forcing an uncharacteristic error from the world No.4 to win the first set.
The excitement came in the second set with tensions escalating as neither player was able to pull away from their opponent, with Zverev again striking early, only for Medvedev to hit back.
At 1 game apiece, the talk of the match came deep in the third game, with both players engaging in an intense 38-shot rally that saw a patient Medvedev pin Zverev to the back-left of the court with a beautifully timed slice which he followed up with a devastating cross-court forehand to win the point.
The turning point came at 4-4, with Medvedev switching up to 5th gear punishing Zverev with a dinky little drop shot to turn the tide on the fellow Russian.
Medvedev found his momentum and went on to win the next 6 consecutive games finishing the second set with his 13th ace of the match.
He continually chipped away at Zverev’s confidence returning 75% of his serves and it showed, Zverev waned as a composed and clinical Medvedev tore away from him, winning the final set 6-1.
And it was a day to remember for Daniil Medvedev after the 24-year-old admitted he’d struggled to find his winning form of 2019.
Medvedev won 4 times on tour in 2019 and was beaten in the finals of the U.S. Open by Rafael Nadal the same year.
2020 has taken a remarkably different look for the Russian, participating in 10 tournaments this year, with the Paris Masters being his only win on tour.
“Before the tournament, I was not in my best form, playing not so bad with zero finals this year. I was complaining to my wife like, ‘Oh my god, I don’t have the level. I don’t even have one final. I am playing so bad.’” he said in an interview after the match.
But this weekend has proved that the world No.4 is certainly at the level to take on the best in the world at the ATP Finals in London next week.
“I don’t show this after the match, but I am really happy to win matches.”
“I was playing really good this tournament and especially today.”
The win saw Medvedev move above Roger Federer in the ATP rankings to secure 4th place heading into the ATP Finals.
Medvedev won’t be the only one smiling after Paris though, as Diego Schwartzman, who missed out a chance to book his place in London after he was beaten by Rafael Nadal in the semifinals of the French Open, was confirmed as the final player 8th and final competitor.
World No.15 Pablo Carreno Busta proved himself to be a threat to Schwartzman, after he battled his way through the field at the Paris Masters, making it to the quarterfinals of the tournament.
Carreno Busta needed to win the tournament to knock Schwartzman off the 9th place spot in the ATP rankings, but the Spaniard was ultimately bested by Nadal, with the loss guaranteeing Schwartzman a place in the ATP Finals.
It’ll be a talent stacked field on show in London next week, with world No.4 Daniil Medvedev going into the tournament on a massive high after his win in Paris this weekend.
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