Daniil Medvedev dug deep to grind down U.S. Open Champion, Dominic Thiem, to win 4-6 7(7)-6 6-4 and become the 2020 ATP Tour Finals champion.
It’s been some November for the 24-year-old, who has now won 10 games on the bounce after coming into the tournament off the back of a win at the Paris Masters.
He’ll finish the season as world No.4 while also becoming the first player ever to beat all of the top three ranked players at the ATP Tour Finals.
And it certainly was an exhibition of the next generation of tennis greats, capping off what has been an encapsulating week of tennis with both players having undoubtedly earned their place in the final.
The Russian showed great resilience to come back from 0-2 down in the second set tie break, to chip away at Dominic Thiem, and cause the Austrian to make some uncharacteristic errors and swing the momentum in his favour.
Although the 6’6” Russian’s service was uncharacteristically weak and was challenged by the Austrian, who used his ripping slice to force Medvedev to concede some poor errors throughout the match.
Medvedev threatened early, looking like he could break Thiem’s first opportunity to serve, with the world No.3 having to defend his belting backhand to save two break points from the world No.4 in the second game.
But it was Dominic Thiem who took first blood and capitalized on a lapse of concentration from Daniil Medvedev that saw the Russian belt a smash shot straight into the net, and follow up with a double-fault to hand the Austrian the first breakpoint of the match.
Medvedev almost clawed a breakpoint chance back in the resulting game, coming back from 15/40 down to bring the game to deuce, showing some serious quality to attack Thiem’s serve. But it was another lapse in concentration that saw Medvedev overhit Thiem’s baseline and let the game escape him.
With Thiem going 0-1 set up, Medvedev subsequently found his rhythm, revving his first serve percentage up from 52% in the first set to 66% in the second and saved 3 breakpoints from the Austrian in the opening exchanges to keep the scores tied at 3-3.Embed from Getty Images
Despite his efforts to fend off the Austrian’s advances, the Russian couldn’t convert a breakpoint in the resulting game with Thiem fending off his attack, hammering an unrecoverable forehand into the far corner of the court.
The set went to a tiebreak, with Dominic Thiem’s swiping slice again forcing an error from the Russian causing him to hit the ball into the net.
The pair have played out 3 tiebreaks in the past, with Thiem having won the trio, but Medvedev stunned him on this occasion, coming back from 0-2 down, forcing his opponent to concede two errors on his own serve to break the Austrian twice and win the tiebreak.
Thiem looked frustrated and started to tire in the third set, with Medvedev wearing him down, forcing him to collect shots from behind the baseline, as he did to Rafael Nadal on Saturday night.
And Medvedev nearly struck early again in the third set, failing to capitalize on three breakpoints, with Thiem’s sheer power just besting the Russian to come back from 0/40 to win the game.
But he couldn’t hold out for much longer and on his next service, Thiem gallantly came back to save 2 breakpoints but succumbed to Medvedev who spotted an opportunity to attack close in at the net to stick a neat volley right next to Thiem’s right tramline which was enough to win him the match.Embed from Getty Images
Sadly for Thiem, it will be the second successive time he’ll have lost in the final of the competition, but this year’s U.S. Open champion can still look back on an awesome tournament, with his straight-sets win against Rafael Nadal arguably being the highlight of the week.
With 3 players under the age of 25 now having won the last three ATP Tour Finals, with Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas both claiming the championship before him, Daniil Medvedev’s win shows the new age of tennis is on the march and it won’t be too long before they’re taking the reigns off the big three.
The next step for the Russian is to claim his first grand slam and after brushing off his opposition this week we’re certain that he won’t be too far off a grand slam title in 2021.
Featured Image: Daniil Medvedev by Carine06 // https://www.flickr.com/photos/43555660@N00/48332041347 //Licensed with CC BY-SA 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/