Daniil Medvedev, the 2020 champion, is the first player from this year’s field to qualify for the semi-finals of the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin following his victory over Alexander Zverev to claim his second Red Group win.
I’m happy because this year I might have lost some matches like this. I’m happy to be able to win Daniil Medvedev
The Russian No.1 defeated the German, also a former champion at the season-ending event, 7-6(7) 6-4 to maintain his dominance over Zverev whom he has now defeated this year, five times in six meetings.
The encounter was a rematch of the 2021 Final when Zverev comfortably got the better of Medvedev in straight sets so the Russian has managed to avenge that setback in a much closer match as he had to save two set points during a tight first set breaker and then fend off a break point in the second.
“It was a very tough match mentally,” Medvedev admitted in his post-match, on court interview.
“I started very well, I was playing well. He was kind of not there yet, but at one moment he stepped up his game and at this moment, for whatever reason, I started playing a little bit worse for a short period of time.
“I’m happy that I managed to regroup and play better at the end of the first set. The end of both sets was very tight.
“In the tie-break he had set point on his serve. I’m happy because this year I might have lost some matches like this. I’m happy to be able to win.”
Zverev in fact led 4-1 in that breaker only to fluff an easy chance for 5-1 as Medvedev ran off six consecutive points to snatch the set.
Earlier, Carlos Alcaraz inflicted a second defeat on the Russian No.2 Andrey Rublev which effectively puts him out of contention for a possible last four place.
For the 20-yer-old Spaniard, the 7-5 6-2 win was his first at the ATP Finals where he is making his debut and gives him a chance of making it through to the knockout stage if he defeats Medvedev in his final group match on Friday.
“It was a totally different match and level from me,” Alcaraz said after his win. “This is the level I have to play if I want to give myself a chance in this amazing tournament. Yesterday was a good day for me in practice to find the level I needed to show today, and I think I did pretty well. I am very happy with my level.”
However, he is well aware that he has tough match if he is to progress further as the two have scored two wins over each other with Alcaraz losing to Medvedev in the semis of the US Open.
“We’re going to try and use the US Open match as an example,” Alcaraz revealed. “I was mentally in the wrong place for a long time. That cannot happen against him. I will have to approach it differently. I know how he will play, so we’ll look at my strategy before the match.
“Medvedev is one of the best players in the world,” he added. “You have to play very well tactically, be patient and aggressive at the same time. It’s very difficult to beat him. You have to wait for the opportunity, but run and be calm, and get five or six shots in per point until the chance comes, while being aware that often it won’t.”
On Thursday Novak Djokovic returns after his loss to Jannik Sinner to take on Hubert Hurkacz who steps in to replace the injured Stefanos Tsitsipas. That meeting is in the opening session.
In the evening, the young Italian star Sinner takes on another young rising star, Denmark’s Holger Rune with all three — Djokovic, Sinner and Rune — vying for semi-final places as the Green Group remains wide open with all three on one win and one loss apiece!