Tennis: Djokovic downs Medvedev in thriller to stay unbeaten in ATP Finals

Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates after defeating Daniil Medvedev of Russia. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

TURIN - Novak Djokovic stayed unbeaten in the round-robin stage of the ATP Finals as he overcame Russia’s Daniil Medvedev 6-3 6-7(5) 7-6(2) in a gruelling clash at the Pala Alpitour in Turin on Friday to top the Red Group.

Djokovic, who is chasing a sixth title at the season-ending championship to match Roger Federer’s record, drew first blood in a tight opening set to take a 5-3 lead and consolidated the break for the early advantage in the match.

Trailing 5-4 in the next, the Serbian saved three set points and drew level with a blistering cross-court shot at the end of a 26-shot rally but appeared to struggle physically in losing the tiebreak as he allowed Medvedev back into the match.

Having already reached the semi-finals after beating Andrey Rublev on Wednesday, some might have expected Djokovic to ease up and save his energy for Saturday’s semi-final meeting with Taylor Fritz but the 35-year-old responded in style.

The Serbian battled back from a break down in the decider to hand Medvedev his third straight defeat after three hours and five minutes.

“Daniil and I have had some battles in the past and I knew coming into the match it was going to be his last of the season and he wouldn’t want to finish with a loss,” Djokovic said.

“I started off well, had chances in the second set, had break points but he played very well in those decisive points. He was playing really quick. I didn’t feel physically well in the third, struggled a lot. It’s a battle and it’s a fight.

“Being able to find the last drop of energy to come back ... at 4-5 (in the third set) I managed to read his serve and anticipate well and got myself in a good position.”

Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas meets Russian Rublev later on Friday, with the winner facing Norway’s Casper Ruud in the semis. REUTERS

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