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Novak Djokovic beats Daniil Medvedev in a thriller


Novak Djokovic survived a marathon three-set match with Daniil Medvedev on Friday to preserve his chances of emerging as the undefeated champion in the ATP Finals and departing from here with the biggest payday in tennis history.

Despite already qualifying for the semi-finals, the Serb pushed himself to his limits against Medvedev, prevailing 6-3, 6-7(5), 7-6(2) to top the red group with a score of 3-0, and award 2020 champion Hu Third consecutive third set tiebreaker loss at the event.

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Djokovic is aiming to create more history this week with a record six victories for Roger Federer at the prestigious year-end event. The Serb, who last crowned the tournament in 2015, will take home $4,740,300 if he wins the title undefeated in Turin.

“This match against one of my greatest opponents today is very important, regardless of the fact that I’ve already qualified. I really wanted to win,” said Djokovic after his victory, which lasted three hours and 11 minutes.

“Daniel and I have had some fights in the past and I knew that coming into the game today would be his last game of the season and he wouldn’t want to end up losing. It started really well. [I] He had chances in the second [set]He had some break points but played very well in those crucial points. He was playing very fast. I didn’t feel better physically in the third set and I struggled a lot. It’s a fight and it’s a fight.”

“Being able to find the last drop of energy to get back into the match. At 4-5 I was able to read and anticipate his serve well and get into a good position. I started very well in the tie-break. Three games tough for him, and he lost 7-6 in Third in all three matches. It’s not easy, but he’s a great player. I respect him a lot and what a great fight it was.”

In a high-quality physical encounter, both hit groundstrokes with ferocious accuracy and power, hitting powerful shots to draw each other in Turin. Djokovic played flawlessly to clinch the first set, before Medvedev responded, and clinched the second set on the fourth set point to force the decider.

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With little separating them, it was the seventh seed who emerged victorious in the deciding set, rebounding from a collapse as he kept his strength and consistency to claim his 40th win at Tour level of the season.

The 35-year-old will face Taylor Fritz in the semi-finals on Saturday, where his fitness will be comprehensively tested, after spending more than three hours on the court against Medvedev in a match that pushed both of them to their limits. The Greek Tsitsipas will face Andrei Rublev on Friday evening in the red group, and the winner will advance to face Casper Rudd.

The former world number one has won 16 of his past 17 matches, having triumphed in Tel Aviv and Astana last month.

Djokovic looked sharp throughout the match against Medvedev. He timed the ball cleanly from the baseline during the long exchanges and patiently waited for his chances to seal the first set.

After failing to convert break opportunities at 1-1 and 4-4 in the second set, the Serb saved three set points at 4-5 to hold on, fending off the last of them by winning an epic 33-shot rally that ended with a forehand. winner.

Medvedev wouldn’t be denied, however, as he shot through Djokovic in the tiebreaker. In a tight third set, the fourth seed broke 5-4 in a match that lasted more than 15 minutes. But Medvedev was unable to serve as Djokovic returned.

With a tiebreaker left to decide the movie, the Serb clearly pulled away when it mattered most to improve to 8-4 in the head-to-head ATP Series against Medvedev.

Medvedev lifted the trophy at the ATP Finals in 2020, before reaching the final last season. The 26-year-old surpassed Yanik Siner in an epic match last year when both players’ fates were already sealed. In similar circumstances this year, Medvedev was at the other end of the score, though, which meant he finished 0-3.

The fourth seed finished his season with a 45-19 record. He reached the final at the Australian Open before lifting trophies on tour level in Los Cabos and Vienna.

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