Bridgetown, Barbados – October 12th, 2019
After a series of surprises on Friday, one trend continued at the Rolex Shanghai Masters on Saturday: Daniil Medvedev’s finals streak. The Russian advanced to his sixth straight tour-level final after beating Stefanos Tsitsipas 7-6(5), 7-5 in Shanghai, extending his FedEx ATP Head2Head series lead against the Greek to 5-0. Medvedev saved four of five break points throughout the one-hour, 36-minute clash to reach an ATP Tour-leading ninth final of the season.
“Making six [finals] in a row, including three Masters 1000’s and one Grand Slam, is something I could never dream of, to be honest,” said Medvedev. “But I want to keep the momentum going and hope I can make it to seven or eight.” The 6’6″ right-hander is only the seventh man since 2000 to reach nine or more tour-level finals in a single season. Medvedev joins Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Andy Murray, David Ferrer and Marat Safin on the exclusive list of players to achieve the feat.
Since arriving at the Citi Open in July, Medvedev has compiled a 28-3 record. The reigning Cincinnati and St. Petersburg titlist’s only losses during that period have occurred in championship matches. Medvedev also improves to 58-17 this year, which includes a Tour-leading 45 hard-court wins and 21 ATP Masters 1000 victories.
Medvedev will meet Nitto ATP Finals contender Alexander Zverev in the championship match. The German defeated Matteo Berrettini in straight sets to book a fifth FedEx ATP Head2Head encounter against Medvedev. Zverev has won each of their previous four meetings at tour-level. With a win, Medvedev would become the second Russian to win this Masters 1000 tournament. Nikolay Davydenko triumphed at the inaugural edition of this event in 2009. With the opening eight games dominated by serve, Tsitsipas created the first break opportunity at 4-4.
The Greek dictated the first point of the game with a series of powerful forehands, but was later unable to convert three consecutive break points. From 0/40, Medvedev served with power and precision to earn five straight points and a 5-4 lead.
The tie-break followed a similar trend, with the first 10 points won by the server. But Medvedev pounced at 5/5 to take the set. The Russian pushed Tsitsipas off balance with a deep second-serve return to gain a mini-break and captured the set as his opponent misfired on his backhand side. Medvedev rode the momentum early in the second set to increase his advantage, breaking in style to secure a 2-1 lead. The Western & Southern Open champion created his first break-point opportunity of the match with a crosscourt forehand passing shot on his return, before breaking serve with a pinpoint backhand passing shot after strong defensive play.
Serving for the match at 5-4, Medvedev committed four errors to concede his serve. But the US Open finalist quickly put the disappointment behind him, breaking Tsitsipas with a looping forehand return before booking his final spot with a commanding serve-and-volley combination. “I needed to get out of this [situation at 4-4, 0/40] and I managed really well with five good serves and some great shots after the serve,” said Medvedev. “[In the] second set, losing the game at 5-4 when you’re serving for the match is never easy. But I knew I had to continue just to try to win the next game, and that’s what happened. [I won the] next two games.”
Tsitsipas was bidding to reach his second final in as many weeks on the ATP Tour. The 21-year-old, who confirmed his debut appearance at the Nitto ATP Finals on Friday, advanced to the China Open final in Beijing last week (l. to Thiem).
“To be honest, I really felt good today and I felt like I could win this match. I felt good, actually. I didn’t feel bad,” Tsitsipas said. “Today I actually felt the most comfortable among the other times that I played against him. I don’t know if I’m going to be able to beat him the next time or the time after that one, but I know there’s going to be a time where I’m going to find opportunities and beat him. I don’t know when it’s going to come. Probably two, three, four, five, six years’ time, I don’t know, but it’s going to come at some point.”
Did You Know?
Medvedev is bidding to become only the second player outside the Big Four to win multiple Masters 1000 trophies in a single season since David Nalbandian in 2007. Alexander Zverev, who captured 2017 crowns in Rome and Canada, is the only non-Big Four member to achieve the feat since Nalbandian ended the 2007 season with trophies in Madrid and Paris.