ATP Finals 2020: Daniil Medvedev beats Dominic Thiem in London farewell

 smh.com.au  11/22/2020 23:28:05 

Medvedev went 5-0 in all, quite a turnaround from a year ago, when he was 0-3 at the ATP Finals. The tournament now ends its 12-edition stay in London and heads to Turin, Italy, next year.

The Russian closed 2020 by going 10-0 in November, including seven wins against members of the top 10. He had zero victories over top 10 opponents over the preceding 12 months.

Daniil Medvedev stretches for a return during his come-from-behind ATP Finals victory over Dominic Thiem.

Daniil Medvedev stretches for a return during his come-from-behind ATP Finals victory over Dominic Thiem.Credit:AP

He called this run a great boost of confidence for all the slams coming up and all the tournaments. Hopefully I can continue this way.

Thiems defence and power from the baseline put him on top early, and strong serving at key moments allowed him to save the first eight break points he faced.

He was crushing the ball," Medvedev said, "like (there) was no tomorrow.

But Medvedev, the runner-up to Nadal at the 2019 U. Open, finally converted on his sixth break chance of the third set by sneaking forward behind a return, making a forehand volley winner and going up 3-2.

Victory in the season-ending tournament - held for the final time in London - is the biggest of Medvedev's career to date.

Victory in the season-ending tournament - held for the final time in London - is the biggest of Medvedev's career to date.Credit:Getty

Thiem credited Medvedev with playing an unreal game.

That was enough, because Medvedev never faced a break point the rest of the way; he finished with 12 aces.

A key shift came in the second-set tie-break, thanks to a change in style from Medvedev.

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Thiem went up 2-0, before Medvedev used an element of surprise by rushing to the net more often than usual  behind serves and returns  and reeling off the next seven points.

That Medvedev began moving forward behind returns was surprising" and very gutsy, said Thiem, who had won three of the pair's previous four matches, including in straight sets in the semi-finals in New York in September en route to his first grand slam trophy.

In the second set Sunday, Thiem had break opportunities to take a 4-3 edge, but he badly missed a short shot on one. He put his hands on his hips.

Maybe," Thiem said afterward, the match would have had a different outcome if I convert that break point.

He stumbled and tumbled to the court in the next game, but appeared to be OK. Still, Medvedev said he sensed Thiem was fading down the stretch.

To make Dominic tired in a three-set match, Medvedev said, "is a great achievement.

AP

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