Daniel Medvedev looks like he’s back to his best when he ended Novak Djokovic’s 15-0 start to the season with a 6-4, 6-4 win over the world number one on Friday.
After briefly falling out of the top 10 for the first time since July 2019, Medvedev has stormed back to that top spot, winning his last 13 matches – in 18 days – to set up an all-Russian Dubai final against the defending champions. Andrey Rublev.
Medvedev had lost his last four meetings with Djokovic, who was on a 20-match win streak dating back to last year’s ATP Finals, coming into the contest.
The 27-year-old is looking to win a third championship 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 amazing feeling. He’s probably the best tennis player of all time,” said Medvedev.
“Every time you get an extra boost of confidence, like, ‘Wow, I could beat Novak, I can definitely beat anybody’.”
Djokovic lamented his 14 unforced errors, twice as many as his opponent, but said he walks away from Dubai with a lot of positives, feeling physically stronger after recovering from a torn left leg.
His participation in the Indian Wells which starts on March 8 remains in doubt as the Serb, who has not been vaccinated against the coronavirus, is waiting to hear if he has been granted a visa waiver. in the US.
“I’m still waiting for news from America,” he said.
“If there’s no America, I guess I’ll play on clay. Monte Carlo might be the next round. If that’s the case, I’ll rest, I’ll be ready.”
Djokovic will find out one way or the other about his chance to play in the United States on Monday when the draw for the Indian Wells event is made.
In front of a full house in Dubai, Medvedev opened a doubles match and although Djokovic slowed down by returning one of the breaks, the world number seven succeeded in the set 39- minute in his second attempt.
Djokovic overraised his forehand, which helped Medvedev get an early break in the second set.
Medvedev maintained his advantage and scored his first point with a slam dunk that sent the crowd into a frenzy.
The former world number one used his first opportunity to book his place in the final.
He makes an impressive 4-2 head-to-head Rublev in their award on Saturday.
This week, Rublev is trying to successfully defend one of his 12 titles for the first time.
The Russian second seed punched his ticket for the championship with his first win in six meetings against Alexander Zverev.
Benefiting from 39 unforced errors from Zverev’s racquet, Rublev needed six points to defeat the former US Open champion 6-3, 7- 6 (11/9) in less than two hours.
The pair quickly traded points before Rublev rallied for 4-2 and the Russian hit a blistering serve to close out the opening set at 47 minutes.
It was the first set that Rublev took against Zverev in the tournament. He was 0-11 in sets against the German coming into the match.
The second set saw no breaks of serve Zverev saved a match point in the 12th game, and hit back-to-back hits to hold it at 6-all.
The number 7 saved the next five points in the breaker but Rublev converted the sixth to reach the second Dubai final.
“I’m happy because I was stable today mentally, especially in the match I was able to be there, to play well,” said Rublev.
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