Russia’s professional tennis player, Daniil Medvedev, battled and sent Rafael Nadal out of the ATP Finals at London‘s O2 Arena. Medvedev came back from a set and 5-4 down to set up a showdown against Dominic Thiem at the season-ending event.
Medvedev’s victory means that Nadal still hasn’t hasn’t won the biggest title yet. The Russian defeated him 3-6 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 to reach the final for the first time in his career.
The victory over world No 2, Nadal, now makes it a nine-match winning streak for Daniil Medvedev who maintained his record of not having lost a match this week and, coupled with his victory at the Paris Masters earlier this month.
Rafa Nadal served for the match at 5-4 in the second set having been 4-1 down but could not take his opportunities.
Medvedev triumphed 7-4 in the crucial moment of a tense and dramatic second-set tie-break with the Russian proving too much for Nadal in the decisive third set, simply overpowering his opponent in a very impressive display.
Medvedev will now face US Open champion Dominic Thiem in what promises to be a keenly contested final on Sunday with a few hours’ rest.
Thiem, however, leads the pair’s head-to-head 3-1 and will have enjoyed a bit more recovery than the 24-year-old having played much earlier in the day.
Sunday’s final will be the last ATP Finals match played in London’s O2 Arena before the event switches to Turin in 2021.
Dominic Thiem sends Novak Djokovic out of the ATP Finals
The Austrian had to grind out the win over the Serb after playing for two hours and 54 minutes on the court inside The O2 Arena.
He missed four match points and his punishment was having to claw his way back from 4-0 down in the final-set tie-break.
After over 2 hours on the court, Thiem will now need to recover as quickly as possible ahead of facing Daniil Medvedev in Sunday’s final.
“I mean, what he did from 0-4 in the third-set tie-breaker was just unreal. I mean, I don’t think I played badly.”
“Actually, I made both of my first serves, actually all of my first serves. 4-1, 4-2, 4-5, you know, 4-6, I made all first serves. He just crushed the ball. Everything went in from both corners, and he played couple of very short slices, you know, angles. Yeah, I mean, what can you do? I mean, I was in a driver’s position at 4-0. I thought, you know, I was very close to win it. Yeah, I mean, he just took it away from me. But he deserved it, because he just went for it and everything worked.” Novak Djokovic reflects on the defeat.
“It was for sure a mental battle. I got so tight in the second-set tie-break. To play these legends is always something special, playing for the final here is also something very special,” Thiem said during his on-court interview.
“I thought that after my first big title in New York, maybe I’m going to be a little bit calmer, but that was a mistake, I guess.
“I was just as tight and as nervous as before. It was so much on the edge that match, like every single match here. The best players in the world are facing off.
“So, I’m just incredibly happy to be through and just [will] try to get ready for tomorrow. I’m looking forward to it a lot, it’s going to be the last match of a tough year for everybody. We’re going to try to put on a great show for everyone.”
For Djokovic, the loss marks the end of the road in his quest to equal Roger Federer’s record of six victories at the ATP Finals.