Facebook Social Button Twitter Social Button Follow Us on InstagramYouTube Social Button
NewsScoresRankingsLucky Letcord PodcastShopPro GearPickleballGear Sale

By Richard Pagliaro | Monday, November 13, 2023


Daniil Medvedev mashed 10 aces and saved all seven break points he faced beating buddy Andrey Rublev 6-4, 6-2, in his Turin round-robin opener.

Photo credit: Clive Brunskill/Getty

Friendly fire only makes Daniil Medvedev fiercer.

A stubborn Medvedev mashed 10 aces and denied all seven break points he faced beating back buddy Andrey Rublev 6-4, 6-2 in tonight’s ATP Finals Red Group opener.

More: Djokovic Sees Himself in Rune

World No. 3 Medvedev improved to an ATP-best 65-16 on the season, including an 11-7 mark vs. Top 10 opponents.

"Was a very tough one, especially the first set. Close, close margins," Medvedev told the media in Turin. "Me, I believe that these tennis matches can go either way, so I'm happy today I managed to do better serves on break points, less mistakes. Because of this tough first set, I think second set he dropped his level.

"I managed to take it, and really happy with the win."

A year ago, a resilient Rublev fought off Davis Cup teammate Medvedev 6-7(7), 6-3, 7-6(7) in a pulsating ATP Finals thriller in Turin.

Today, Medvedev relied on strong situational serving and near unerring baseline play to gain a measure of revenge on the same Turin hard court against his childhood friend who is the Godfather to Medvedev’s daughter.

Between the lines, Medvedev is all business, but after the match he said he wishes the best for his buddy.

"To be honest, on court, I don't know how it is for him, for me on court, doesn't exist, friends, enemies. I just try to win the match," Medvedev said. "I don't think about anything else. But when the last point is finished, it's like I feel sorry for him, he lost the match. But it's the same for him. If he beats me, I mean, last year was brutal when he beat me. So I felt for one or two days he was kind of shy to talk to me, taking care.

"It's the same. You always try to look at him and see if tomorrow we can talk like normal. I'm going say him good luck, go for it the next matches, and he's probably going to say the same."

Though Medvedev served only 56 percent, low by his standard, he won 30 of 36 first-serve points, including saving four break points to serve out the opening set.

This victory vaults 2020 ATP Finals champion Medvedev to the top of the Red Group standings following Alexander Zverev’s three-set win over world No. 2. Carlos Alcaraz earlier today.

Medvedev had won six of their eight pro clashes, including 17 of their 21 prior sets, soaking up Rublev’s pace and cracking counter-strikes.

Tested in the opening game, Rublev erased break point in stamping a hold. Medvedev answered with a love hold.

The red-haired Rublev owns one of the fastest forehands in the game, but Medvedev imposed his forehand first. Clubbing a high inside-out forehand winner, Medvedev followed with a slithering forehand down the line that helped him earn triple break point.

Standing firm again, Rublev repelled all three break points, pumping a clean backhand winner down the line to save the third. Rublev survived break-point stress for the second straight game going up 2-1.

The 2020 ATP Finals champion Medvedev exploited a pair of Rublev backhand misses crunching a forehand winner for another break point. Trying to assert his aggression, Rublev tried the surprise serve-and-volley, set up an easy high forehand volley, but badly bungled that shot ceding the break and 4-3 lead to Medvedev.

A resolute Rublev was thumping his forehand even bigger earning three break points in the eighth game. As the game waged on past six minutes, Medvedev mashed a 120 mph-plus second serve to erase the third break point. Medvedev withstood that stress holding for 5-3. By then, the 2021 US Open champion had hit nine winners against no errors leaving Rublev to kick a stray ball in disgust.

Serving for the set, Medvedev fell behind love-30 then clanked his first double-fault to face double break point. Jamming serves saved both. Rublev rattled out an error for a third break point. Medvedev fired his fifth ace wide to deny it.

A sliding backhand volley and forehand reflex volley gave Medvedev a second set point. Rublev saved it with a slick forehand drop volley. A long, physical rally went Medvedev’s way as he earned a third set point. Medvedev, perhaps feeling drained by the prior point, double-faulted it away.

Digging deep through a challenging 11-minute hold, Medvedev saved four break points in all to seize a one-set lead. Though he served just 51 percent and struggled to land his first serve in the final game, Medvedev was superb under pressure saving all seven break points he faced in the 55-minute opening set.

An over-ambitious Rublev missed a few massive forehands going down triple break point to start the second set. Though Rublev fought off all three break points, he ballooned a forehand long then netted a backhand to drop serve for the second time.

Spiking his seventh ace, Medvedev pulled ahead 3-1.

Trying to pierce Medvedev’s unrelenting defense, Ruble misfired to face another break point in the fifth game. Rublev attacked net and was tracking a high volley but slipped and crashed to the court. Medvedev exploited the fall, pumping a pass before his buddy could scramble to his feet, to break again for 4-1.

An irate Rublev pounded his palm off the court as if blaming the surface for his slip.

Medvedev served out a 91-minute victory setting up his next round-robin clash against Olympic gold-medal champion Zverev.


Latest News