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Medvedev battles past Zverev in thriller to top red group

By Tobi Awodipe
17 November 2021   |   2:39 am
In the latest chapter of their rivalry, reigning champion Daniil Medvedev earned a hard-fought 6-3, 6-7(3), 7-6(6) win over Alexander Zverev yesterday at the Nitto ATP finals to boost his semi-final chances...

Daniil Medvedev of Russia . (Photo by Frederic J. BROWN / AFP)

In the latest chapter of their rivalry, reigning champion Daniil Medvedev earned a hard-fought 6-3, 6-7(3), 7-6(6) win over Alexander Zverev yesterday at the Nitto ATP finals to boost his semi-final chances as he moved to 2-0 in red group action.

Medvedev downed Hubert Hurkacz in his opening match and backed that up against the German as he struck the ball with consistent depth and recovered from a dip in the second set, soaking up Zverev’s heavy-hitting to secure victory after two hours and 35 minutes in an entertaining match in Turin.

With his triumph against Zverev, Medvedev has moved level with the 24-year-old on a tour-leading 56 wins this season. The Russian, who edged Dominic Thiem to win the title at the season finale last year, will qualify for the semi-finals later Tuesday if Hurkacz defeats Italian Matteo Berrettini in the Red Group.

Medvedev now leads Zverev 6-5 in their ATP Head2Head series, having won his past five matches against the World No. 3, including victories in Australia and Paris this year. The pair also met in the round-robin stage at the season finale in 2020, with Medvedev triumphing 6-3, 6-4. Zverev is now 1-1 in red group play and faces Hurkzcz in his final round-robin match.

Andrey Rublev meanwhile, stunned Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 6-4, sending him to the bottom of the green group alongside Casper Ruud. It was on of the best serving performances of his career, winning 90 percent of points behind his first serve (36/40).

Rublev’s reward for tying his head-to-head with Tsitsipas at 4-4 is a clash tomorrow with Novak Djokovic. It will be the first match between the two and will determine which player leads the green group, after Djokovic defeated Ruud on Monday.

The victory over Tsitsipas was just the second Rublev has recorded at the Nitto ATP Finals, after a win over Dominic Thiem at The O2 Arena last year, which came when Rublev had already been eliminated from semi-final contention.