2021 ATP Finals wrap: Zverev sets up Medvedev rematch

GERMAN third seed Alexander Zverev has set up an ATP Finals decider with second seed Russian Daniil Medvedev after upsetting world number one Novak Djokovic in the night semi-final. Zverev fought through three sets to turn the tables against Djokovic for the second time in a major semi-final, having defeated him at the Tokyo Olympics. The German will need to now find a way to overcome Medvedev who knocked him off in the group stage, in order to claim his maiden ATP Finals trophy.

Djokovic was gunning for an equal-record sixth ATP Finals trophy, matching that over Swiss maestro Roger Federer. Instead, Zverev had other ideas in mind, taking two hours and 28 minutes to defeat the world number one, 7-6 4-6 6-3. Both players produced some outstanding tennis, and whilst the top seed kept threatening Zverev, and could have easily run over the top of him, a crucial break in the deciding set got him home.

The players produced 29 aces between them (15-14 Djokovic’s way), with both winning a superb percentage of their first serve points. Djokovic only dropped eight points at 87 per cent efficiency from a 65 per cent clip, whilst Zverev won 78 per cent of his first serve points off a higher 72 per cent efficiency. It was the German third seed’s second serve dominance that helped, winning 63 per cent to Djokovic’s 41 per cent.

“Every time we play it takes hours,” Zverev said post-match. “I have not spent more time on court with anybody other than him this year. I am happy with the win and happy to be in the final here and to give myself the best chance for tomorrow.”

Medvedev booked his spot in the final with a straight sets win over Ruud, 6-4 6-2. The match lasted an hour and 19 minutes before the Russian second seed could advance to the final. He produced three aces to one and had had one less double fault (2-3) in what was a lower ace rate compared to previous matches. This was largely due to his 60 per cent serve efficiency, compared to Ruud’s 69 per cent which kept the Norwegian in the match.

The eventual winner as able to capitalise once in the points, only dropping 10 points for the match – including the two double faults – and winning 82 and 74 per cent of his first and second serve points. He never looked like losing, never facing a break point whilst creating nine chances of his own. While Medvedev only broke three times, it was enough to secure his first straight sets win of the tournament.

“As soon as you are a set and a break up you feel like you are in control, but that is when the danger is,” Medvedev said post-match. “You need to stay focused and fight for every point. In the last game I had 0/30 on my serve, and until the last point, it is never over. So I am happy I was able to finish it.

“I think all the matches were a great level. Different opponents and different styles. I managed to win all the matches. It was not an easy match [today]. When you are in the final you can’t complain, so I am just looking forward to tomorrow and hopefully I can have my best match.”

For Ruud, it was the end of his ATP Tour season, a year where he claimed five ATP Tour titles and broke into the Top 10. It was the first time a Norwegian had ever reached the heights of the Top 10.

“It has been a great year for me and my development as a tennis player,” Rudd said post-match. “Getting to know my opponents more and playing this tournament has been a great experience. To finish a very good year off here in Turin has been a great experience for me and something I will be eager to try and repeat and be back here next year.”


[3] Alexander Zverev (GER) defeated [1] Novak Djokovic (SRB) 7-6 4-6 6-3
[2] Daniil Medvedev (RUS) defeated [8] Casper Ruud (NOR) 6-4 6-2

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