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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Thursday November 18, 2021

 
Daniil Medvedev

Daniil wasn't looking for a dogfight, but he found himself in one on Thursday night in Turin.

Photo Source: Getty

When Daniil Medvedev raced through the opening set without dropping a single game against Jannik Sinner on Thursday night in Turin, the No.2-ranked Russian figured he may be able to coast to victory and rest his weary legs for the semifinals at the Nitto ATP Finals.

Tennis Express

Then the message from 20-year-old home favorite Jannik Sinner came: think again.

Sinner recovered from his early swoon, found his best tennis, and pushed the Russian to the brink before falling 6-0, 6-7(5), 7-6(8).

“There were moments where he was not missing any ball, and I tried to find a solution somehow,” Sinner said. “Then after, I took a little bit more time, trying to understand how to play against him. Then I found a solution.”

Sinner’s solution was Medvedev’s dilemma. The Russian, not wanting to use too much energy trying to win a dead rubber against Sinner (he had already locked up first place in the Red Group and didn't need the victory), tried to find the right way to go about his business. He ended up compromising, playing aggressive first-strike tennis and going big to keep himself in the match.

After two and a half hours and two match point saves, Medvedev got the job done, winning his eighth consecutive match at the ATP Finals, which is the longest streak since Novak Djokovic won 15 straight from 2012 to 2015.


After the match Medvedev told reporters that he could have skipped out on the match entirely, faking an injury to get an extra day off, but he’s not that type of competitor.

“I didn't want to do 2 hour 30 match when the match is dead, so that was unexpected, but I think that's where people who, because I like to read comments, who are saying something about me, they should understand that I could have retired, basically say before the match that I have a headache, just not go out there, still be the first in the group. Yet I made a show, was 2 hours 30 on the court,” he said. “I think people finally enjoyed it who were in the stadium who paid the tickets. So I think I have done my job right.”

It was a job well done for Medvedev, who said he was helped enormously by his serve on the fast-playing courts at Turin.

“I think the serve was really good throughout all these three matches. Got broken for the first time today,” he said. “Could have done a little bit better, but still, a lot of aces, a lot of first serves in. Really like my serve so far. Definitely, to be honest, when you win three matches out of three, you like everything, but I would point out the serve especially. It's fast conditions here, so it's really important.”

The defending champion will face either Andrey Rublev or Casper Ruud in the semifinals on Saturday, while Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev will square off in the other semifinal.

Win or lose, Medvedev will be happy to rest up on Friday after a hard day’s work in Turin.

“I think sometimes it can be an advantage, sometimes a disadvantage that you have a day off before the semis,” he said. “But that's how it is, and I'm gonna take it quite good, because today I'm going to sleep late and tomorrow it's good to have a day off.”

 

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