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The Davis Cup favourites, Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev, representing the Russian Tennis Federation rather than their country as it is banned from international competition for state doping violations, cruised into the final at the Caja Magica in Madrid, after...

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Zverev through to S/F as Medvedev avoids an upset.

World No.3 Alexander Zverev cleared his last hurdle in the Red Group to reach the semi-finals of the ATP Finals in Turin where he will face Novak Djokovic, the world No.1, who had already qualified despite the Serb having one more Green Group match to play on Friday.

I have played Novak in every single big hard court tournament this year. We are making a habit of playing in the later rounds at big tournaments. It is going to be an entertaining one I think. Alexander Zverev

The lanky German who won the event in 2018, booked his spot in the afternoon session by cruising past Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz 6-4 6-2.

“Today was a tough match mentally because I needed to win, so I was 100 per cent focused,” Zverev revealed. “It was very up and down, and I am happy to be through and win in straight sets.

“You can always improve. The margins are always very small between the top players, but to win you have to do the details right. I hope I can do that on Saturday.”

Zverev looked like he would romp past Hurkacz when he swept through the opening set in just 26-minutes but the Pole who has yet to win a match in the Finals, put up stronger resistance in the second although, ultimately, it proved inadequate.

Hurkacz, the world No.9, having won just nine points in the opening set, then got his powerful serve to work to put the brakes on Zverev with 10 aces and gain a foothold on the second set, only to lose his way in the ninth game and hand his opponent the chance to serve out, which Zverev duly did for the opportunity to take on Djokovic for a place in Sunday’s final.

The pair will meet on Saturday to continue a spirited rivalry which sees the Serb lead the German 7-3 in their head-to-head meetings.

Zverev did beat Djokovic in the semis at the Olympics and then lost a tight semi at the US Open.

“I have played Novak in every single big hard court tournament this year,” Zverev said. “We are making a habit of playing in the later rounds at big tournaments. It is going to be an entertaining one I think.”


Daniil Medvedev congratulates Yannik Sinner on a tough match.

Julian Finney/Getty Images

In the evening, the Italian fans, after seeing their local boy Jannik Sinner whitewashed in the opening set, couldn’t quite believe what they were watching as the 20-year-old, who had replaced the injured Matteo Berrettini earlier in the week, recovered to nearly pull off the upset of the week against the world No.2 and defending champion, Daniil Medvedev before capitulating 6-0 6-7(5) 7-6(8).

Sinner, who was up a break in the third, later held two match points in the final set breaker with Medvedev serving at 5-6 and 6-7 only to see his opportunities falter.

The outcome of the match had no bearing on the semi-finals or standings, but Medvedev finishes unbeaten in the round robin stages and improves his run of consecutive wins at the ATP Finals to eight overall.

The US Open champion came out with the bit between his teeth, keen to complete his group stage as quickly as possible, especially as it had no bearing on the final group standings.

The Russian took just 25 minutes to win the first set to love in what was a menacing manner, helped by 11 unforced errors from a nervous Sinner.

However, just as it looked like Medvedev was going to stroll to victory, Sinner regained his confidence by winning the first game of the second set to go on and lead 3-1.

Medvedev however, broke back straight away after Sinner net-corded twice and with both players holding serve, and, to the delight of the crowd, their man then levelled in the tie-breaker.

With Medvedev now making the majority of the unforced errors, Sinner moved ahead in the decider when he claimed game five only for Medvedev to respond with another break and force a final tie-break where he saved two match points before claiming it on the third.

“It was tough,” Medvedev told the crowd. “Mentally it was tough knowing the match was dead. But I did not want to lose my rhythm. I won the first set quite easily and I was like, lets continue this way. The second set was about an hour or so and then it is the third set. But you’re not going to not play the third set because I like to win, I don’t like to lose. I am happy I won.”

The Russian will now get a day off as he awaits the winner of tomorrow’s penultimate Green Group match between his compatriot Andrey Rublev and Norway’s Casper Ruud.

“When I know that I am in the next round and I am waiting for my opponent, I watch the match to see how they play,” Medvedev said. “So I am just going to watch it and enjoy it and wait for the winner.

“I think if the season had gone on a bit longer, he (Sinner) would have had a chance to come here straight, rather than as an alternate,” Medvedev added.

“Hopefully next time if I win, I can make it just a little bit shorter because I put on a show, but I want to rest a little bit.”

On Friday evening, Novak Djokovic will meet Britain’s Cameron Norrie who stepped in to replace the injured Stefano Tsitsipas, in the final match of the group stages which is also a dead rubber with just ranking points and prize money at stake.





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