Daniil Medvedev secures place in Nitto ATP Finals final with dominant victory v Ruud

Daniil Medvedev reacts to US Open win over Novak Djokovic

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Daniil Medvedev is into the final of the Nitto ATP Finals for the second year running. The defending champion defeated debutant Casper Ruud 6-4 6-2 in the first of Saturday’s (November 20) semi-final matches. He will face either world No 1 Novak Djokovic or 2018 champion Alexander Zverev in the final.

Medvedev and Ruud were facing off for the third time in their careers, with the Russian getting the better of the 22-year-old in their two previous meetings – on the grass courts of Mallorca earlier this year and at the ATP Cup in 2020.

The defending ATP Finals champion booked his spot in the semi-finals and became the winner of his round-robin Red Group with a victory over Alexander Zverev on Tuesday (November 16), thanks to the withdrawal of Matteo Berrettini from their group.

Meanwhile Ruud – making his debut at the season-ending championships this year – booked his place in the semi-finals and came in second place for the Green Group after beating Andrey Rublev 2-6 7-5 7-6(5) in Friday’s (November 19) round-robin match.

Both players started the semi-final strong, with a love-hold in their respective opening service games, but it was then the 25-year-old who was first to strike, coming back from 15-40 down on Ruud’s serve to break him.

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The pair continued to hold on until the end of the set, with the Norwegian saving more break points, until Medvedev took it 6-4.

Medvedev and Ruud were neck-and-neck with their first service stats in the first set, but it was the second serve that appeared to cost the debutant in the end, as he won just 31% of the points on his second serve compared to his opponent’s 67%.

They stayed level in the early stages of the second set, until the 2020 champion managed to capitalise on his third break point in a lengthy nine minute and 52 second game at 2-2, with Ruud serving.

The momentum was then all with the 25-year-old, who won three more games on the bounce, breaking Ruud again, to secure a 6-4 6-2 victory in an hour and 19 minutes to book his place in the final for the second year in a row.

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Medvedev will now play either Djokovic or Zverev in Sunday’s (November 21) final.

The world No 1 faces a tough test in the German during the second semi-final, as Zverev defeated him from a set down at the Tokyo Olympics earlier this year to deny Djokovic the chance to compete for a gold medal, and he left the Games without any hardware for Serbia.

Medvedev and Djokovic have faced off in the two biggest hard-court finals this season at the Australian Open and US Open, winning one apiece.

Djokovic got the better of the Russian at the start of the year, but it was the world No 2 who denied him the chance to win a record 21st Major and be the first man in 52 years to complete the Calendar Grand Slam when he won the US Open final 6-4 6-4 6-4, picking up his maiden Slam title.

The world No 1 then got revenge over his US Open conqueror at the recent Paris Masters 1000, coming from a set down to beat him in the final and win a record 37th Masters title.

Former British No 1 Greg Rusedski has also warned the Serb that he must beat Medvedev in a potential clash in the final on Sunday if he wants to cement his dominance ahead of next season.

Speaking exclusively to Express Sport, he said: “[He wants to] stamp his authority for 2022 because if Daniil wins in their last two matches at the biggest titles – because the US Open was the biggest title before the ATP Finals – so if he wins the US Open Medvedev, and then wins the ATP Finals, we’re talking about a serious threat to Djokovic’s supremacy in 2022.”

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