'Amazing' Medvedev eyes fourth title

Daniil Medvedev of Russia hitting a return against Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece during their semi-final match at the Rolex Shanghai Masters yesterday. The Russian won 7-6 (7-5), 7-5 to set up a final clash against German Alexander Zverev today.
Daniil Medvedev of Russia hitting a return against Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece during their semi-final match at the Rolex Shanghai Masters yesterday. The Russian won 7-6 (7-5), 7-5 to set up a final clash against German Alexander Zverev today.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Rival Zverev hopes to keep his focus against red-hot Russian in Shanghai final clash today

Daniil Medvedev has been variously described as crazy, amazing and dangerous this past week, with some considering the Russian to be unplayable at the moment.

The world No. 4 yesterday showed why in his 7-6 (7-5), 7-5 defeat of Stefanos Tsitsipas to reach the final of the Rolex Shanghai Masters.

He faces Alexander Zverev, who beat Matteo Berrettini 6-3, 6-4, at Qi Zhong Stadium today.

It will be his sixth consecutive final and eighth overall, an achievement top-ranked Novak Djokovic called "amazing".

Medvedev, who won three titles this year, also leads the tour in match wins (58), hard court victories (45) and ATP Masters 1000 wins (21).

Fabio Fognini said the "really dangerous" Medvedev was the worst opponent to play at the moment before duly going on to lose their quarter-final clash. It was an assessment former tennis pro Thomas Johansson agreed with.

Medvedev, the US Open runner-up, said of Fognini's remark: "If some top players like Fabio can say this about me, it shows that I'm on the (right track), I'm playing (well) and it's not easy to play against me."

Tsitsipas would agree as the world No. 7 has now lost all their previous five meetings.

He said: "(All) you can do is hit as hard as you can side to side, be accurate and make him move, otherwise you can just play it back to him... it just keeps coming back."

The first set was the 11th straight tiebreak Medvedev has won, and he said: "It just means that I'm really good in crucial moments and that's why I'm also winning matches."

Those crucial moments included facing three break points at 4-4 in the first set and losing the game the first time he served for the match.

Said the 23-year-old of being 40-0 down at 4-4: "I was like, 'Damn, I shouldn't have let this happen.' But I managed really well with five good serves and some great shots after the serve."

Though Tsitsipas had more first serves in (68 per cent to Medvedev's 64), his opponent won more points off his serve.

Medvedev, whose run was described by 20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer as "crazy", won 84 per cent and 67 per cent of his first and second serve points respectively while Tsitsipas won 82 and 44 per cent.

Zverev has a 4-0 record over Medvedev, with their last meeting in the round of 16 at last year's Toronto Masters. Zverev said: "He's different this year. He's been playing some unbelievable tennis.

"In the last few months he's probably the best player in the world, making it to six finals in a row, winning a Masters, making it to the US Open final.

"So he's definitely been playing the best tennis of his life."

The world No. 6, who beat Federer in the quarter-finals on Friday, added: "The mental factor of coming back after you beat Roger and still being focused and playing good tennis... I take a lot of positives from this into the final."

 


SHANGHAI MASTERS

Finals: StarHub Ch201, 4.30pm

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 13, 2019, with the headline ''Amazing' Medvedev eyes fourth title '. Print Edition | Subscribe