ATP Finals 2020: Daniil Medvedev tames Dominic Thiem to win maiden title
First Published Nov 23, 2020, 11:44 AM IST
Daniil Medvedev hails from Russia and is currently ranked fourth in the ATP Rankings. He is yet to win a Grand Slam, having finished once as the runners-up, during the 2019 US Open. He won his maiden ATP Final title, while it was his ninth career title in ATP singles competitions.
In what could be considered the most significant career breakthrough, Russia's Daniil Medvedev sprung a memorable comeback to tame favourite Dominic Thiem of Austria to win his maiden ATP Finals crown. The Russian won 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-4 after two hours and 43 minutes at the O2 Arena in London, which happened to be the final edition at the venue, as the tournament moves to Turin, come 2021.
Medvedev had a glorious run in the tournament, finishing unbeaten. It all started at the group stage, where he beat Germany's Alexander Zverev, followed Serbia's world number one, Novak Djokovic, and Argentina's Diego Schwartzman. In the semis, he tamed Spain's world number two, Rafael Nadal.
As for Thiem, he too had a decent run, starting with a win against Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas, followed by a loss against Nadal before winning against Russia's Andrey Rublev. In the semis, he tamed Djokovic in a gruelling encounter.
Incidentally, with this win, Medvedev became the fourth player to beat the top-three players at a single event. The other three happen to be David Nalbandian (Madrid 2007), Djokovic (Montreal 2007) and Boris Becker (Stockholm 1994). He is also the first Russian since Nikolay Davydenko in 2009 to win the tournament.
"I always said before this tournament that it would be an amazing story if, here in London, where the tournament was for  years, that the first champion would be Russian and the last champion would be Russian, too. A lot of thanks to Nikolay Davydenko for being an inspiration for many kids [like] me [by] winning here. I hope to continue doing his job," said Medvedev after winning the title.
"What a match. One of my best victories, two hours [and] 42 [minutes], three sets against an amazing player. Dominic, congratulations already for what you achieved in your career. Your name is already in the history of tennis books. It is amazing. You won a Grand Slam this year. You are playing unbelievable. I hope we are going to have many more matches to come on the big occasions like this," Medvedev added.
Medvedev, who is generally known for his ferocious defence, controlled from the baseline in the early stages of the match, as he stepped inside the court, not to allow Thiem to play groundstrokes, even attacking the latter's forearm strokes. Although the Austrian did use backhand slice to restrict the Russian, the latter pushed further into the court during slow paces to startle Thiem.
Medvedev read Thiem's backhand slice to swoop it over the net, while the former also used his forehand volley extensively to take the game away from the latter. Furthermore, the Russian hit 12 aces in the match.
"I remember some of the [break points] and he was playing unbelievable. I remember he was crushing the ball as if there was no tomorrow. So, yeah, lucky and happy to finally make it in the third set actually in good style, going to the net, winning the point with a winner," Medvedev further said.
"I think it was the toughest victory in my life because Dominic is a really tough player to play. I think today he was at his best. Maybe, it's not the case, but that's what I felt during the match. He was really close to winning it [in the] second set. I managed to stay there," concluded Medvedev.
"Of course, I am disappointed, but at the same time, I am also proud of the performance of all the week. Daniil really deserved it. [It was an] amazing match. Congratulations for, in general, another great year. I think it was an amazing month [in] November, with [the] Bercy title and here and I hope we will have many great matches to come. It was a pleasure today, even though I lost," Thiem noted after the defeat.