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GAME, SET AND MATCH! – MEDVEDEV 6-3 6-3 SCHWARTZMAN

Roland-Garros
Sinner: Zverev 'making excuses' for French Open defeat
29/11/2020 AT 12:29

Medvedev signs off Group Tokyo 1970 with a perfect record, serving it out to love. He warms up for his semi final with Nadal in real style thanks to a straight sets win over the Argentine, who leaves his debut finals on the back of three losses. Medvedev got the job done in one hour and 13 minutes. He’s certainly the form man heading into the last four, just the 31 winners there.

Earlier, Djokovic joined Medvedev in qualifying from this group with a winner takes all success over Zverev, despite having to contend with pre-match questions relating to off-the-court politics. Here's my take on why the world number one should keep both eyes on winning prizes

Daniil Medvedev

Image credit: Getty Images

MEDVEDEV 6-3 5-3 SCHWARTZMAN

Serve-out question, posed. Diego keeps Daniil honest but his London adventure could well be about to end.

MEDVEDEV 6-3 5-2 SCHWARTZMAN

When the first serve doesn’t get you, the forehand does. Medvedev surges to a love hold and is one game away from staying perfect in this tournament.

MEDVEDEV 6-3 4-2 SCHWARTZMAN

With the break under his belt, Medvedev goes for big returns once again. He doesn’t do enough with them but it does lead to a quick-fire game. Schwartzman stays in touch, but it’s looking unlikely he’ll rescue anything from this.

MEDVEDEV 6-3 4-1 SCHWARTZMAN

It’s a very scrappy game from the world number four and Schwartzman almost bites back. The Argentine is gifted his first break point courtesy of a double fault but sees it snatched away by a huge service winner. Some nice hands at the net earn him another opportunity, but he slaps a tame return into the net from a weak second serve. Medvedev eventually gets the rhythm flowing again and consolidates from deuce.

BREAK! – MEDVEDEV 6-3 3-1 SCHWARTZMAN

Talk about redlining it. Medvedev literally hits the corners on his way to triple break point. He’s in charge at the net but duffs a volley, allowing Schwartman to lob him. The Russian attempts a tweener and makes a mess it. He recovers from the shocker to break at the third opportunity with the type of winner he’s more accustomed to hitting.

MEDVEDEV 6-3 2-1 SCHWARTZMAN

He may be hanging tough on his own service games, but he’s not really doing enough with the return. Easier said than done of course. Medvedev earns plenty of cheap points with that first serve and claims another routine hold to 15.

MEDVEDEV 6-3 1-1 SCHWARTZMAN

Super play from Schwartzman. You always get 100 per cent from the Argentine as he glides up and down that baseline. Medvedev gets interested at 40-30 and hovers by the net, but the world number eight unleashes a ferocious pass to get on the board.

MEDVEDEV 6-3 1-0 SCHWARTZMAN

Frustration for Diego. He manages to apply some pressure at deuce and engages Daniil in a war of attrition from the baseline. Inevitably, Medvedev wins it and goes on to grab the scoreboard advantage at the start of Set 2.

Daniil Medvedev lines up a backhand

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SET! – MEDVEDEV 6-3 SCHWARTZMAN

Medvedev steps it up when he sees an opening to break again. He conjures up some quite ridiculous returns and takes the game on his second set point to clinch the opener in 37 minutes.

MEDVEDEV 5-3 SCHWARTZMAN

The world number four lands the big serve often enough to remain very comfortable on serve. He’s one away from taking the set.

MEDVEDEV 4-3 SCHWARTZMAN

Daniil goes for big returns, but it doesn’t pay off. Given he’s got a match in 24 hours, you can’t blame him for trying to shorten the points.

MEDVEDEV 4-2 SCHWARTZMAN

Like a man in a hurry, Medvedev blitzes his way through a rapid love hold. The Russian is oozing with confidence.

MEDVEDEV 3-2 SCHWARTZMAN

Some respite for Schwartzman. With the break in the bag, Medvedev seems to drop intensity. He barely tries to stretch for a crosscourt attempt and the diminutive world number nine notches up a love hold.

MEDVEDEV 3-1 SCHWARTZMAN

Diego is giving it his all, but Daniil has a bit too much right now. He flies into the net again and then quickly back pedals to slam down an overhead that sees him consolidate.

BREAK! – MEDVEDEV 2-1 SCHWARTZMAN

Medvedev makes a rare dart into the net to nail a volley that tees up another break point from deuce. The Argentine has had to work so hard to try and cling on to his serve, but this time it’s to no avail. Medvedev sweeps another scorching forehand his opponent’s left wing and licks the back of the baseline. Stunning.

MEDVEDEV 1-1 SCHWARTZMAN

El Peque does well to engage the Russian in some rallies as the big serve does a lot of damage. It proves fruitless on this occasion as the world number four gets on the board to 30, corking a ridiculous forehand winner up the line along the way.

MEDVEDEV 0-1 SCHWARTZMAN

No surprise to see some lengthy baseline exchanges. Medvedev appears more dialled in than Thiem did in his dead rubber. The Russian clocks up three break points but Diego refuses to give in and digs out the hold after seven minutes. Medvedev could do without such epics with Nadal looming on his horizon tomorrow.

Views from the baseline

Medvedev: “I finished number one in the group already, which is great. Of course I'm going to try to win my third match.”

Schwartzman following his 3-6 6-4 3-6 loss to Zverev: “I'm happy because I almost did a good comeback. The match was going all his way quickly in the first set and second set. Then I find a way to win the second set and fighting the third.”

Head to head

Medvedev has won all four of their previous meetings including a convincing 6-3 6-1 victory at the Paris Masters earlier this month.

Now - Medvedev v Schwartzman

The group stage concludes tonight as Daniil Medvedev meets Diego Schwartzman. The Argentine is already out, but will hope to sign off with a good showing. Medvedev will aim to maintain his 100 per cent record and ensure his game is in tip-top shape ahead of tomorrow.

Semi final line-up confirmed

Djokovic v Thiem

Nadal v Medvedev

GAME, SET AND MATCH! – DJOKOVIC 6-3 7-6 ZVEREV

Djokovic comes through a testing second set where Zverev threw everything at him to take the tie break 7-4. The Serb remains in the hunt for a sixth title at this tournament with a straight sets success over the German in one hour and 36 minutes. He will now meet Dominic Thiem in the semi final on Saturday.

Novak Djokovic returns serve at ATP Tour Finals

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TB LATEST

There’s some incredible defence from Djokovic as he hits back from 2-0 down to make 2-2 and ensure he’s level at 3-3 at the change of ends.

DJOKOVIC 6-3 6-6 ZVEREV

VAR drama as Zverev questions a not-up call. The umpire was correct and Djoker gets the decision. The Serb doesn’t have it all his own way but stays focused from 30-30 to force the TB.

DJOKOVIC 6-3 5-6 ZVEREV

When that first serve lands Zverev is a really tough proposition. There’s no danger here as he snares a perfect hold to guarantee himself the minimum of a tie break.

DJOKOVIC 6-3 5-5 ZVEREV

Routine holds have become a rare commodity for Nole in this set. He looks in total control at 40-0 but has to reset and win the game all over again after being pressed to deuce.

DJOKOVIC 6-3 4-5 ZVEREV

Sascha continues to be red-hot in this set. He moves into double figures with aces and dominates in the net duels to apply significant scoreboard pressure.

Alexander Zverev - ATP Finals

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DJOKOVIC 6-3 4-4 ZVEREV

Bold stuff from the world number one. He goes for the drop shot after being pegged back from 30-0 up, but gets his reward and then clinches parity once more with a crisp forehand into the corner.

DJOKOVIC 6-3 3-4 ZVEREV

Sascha will feel he’s had the edge so far in Set 2 – but it’s still with serve. A terrific deep volley clips the baseline to earn thumbs up from Djokovic as he keeps the top seed at arm’s length with a hold to 30.

DJOKOVIC 6-3 3-3 ZVEREV

Another half chance for Sascha. The world number seven punches the air in frustration as his probing crosscourt backhand clips the net and flies out at 30-30. He then picks up a drop shot but pushes too long and we’re all square again.

DJOKOVIC 6-3 2-3 ZVEREV

The young German roars with joy as a brutal crosscourt forehand and a volley at the net fend off two break points. A pair of double faults had put him in all sorts of trouble, but he hangs in and screams in delight when another lovely forehand leaves Djoker frustrated with his hands on his hips.

DJOKOVIC 6-3 2-2 ZVEREV

It’s a real mixed bag at both ends of the court at first. Zverev produces the point of the game with a magnificent drop shot from deep and chalks up the first break point of the set when Djoker double faults. The Serb digs himself out of trouble once again and just earns the edge following a succession of entertaining points from deuce.

DJOKOVIC 6-3 1-2 ZVEREV

The Zverev serve is doing a lot of the heavy lifting. He breezes through another hold to nudge the board in his favour once more.

DJOKOVIC 6-3 1-1 ZVEREV

Djokovic suffers a mid-game wobble, but fortunately for him it comes at 40-0. A big first serve helps him avoid any dramas and get him on the board.

DJOKOVIC 6-3 0-1 ZVEREV

Sascha doesn’t make the same mistake in Set 2. He stays zoned in to kick it off with a hold to 15, despite throwing in a late double fault.

Novak Djokovic

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SET! - DJOKOVIC 6-3 ZVEREV

No sign of any jitters under pressure there. The Serbinator paints the lines with a superb 1-2 punch at 30-30 and then clinches the opener in 33 minutes with a clinical backhand winner.

DJOKOVIC 5-3 ZVEREV

Super serving from the German. He’s raced through the gears since being blown away in those first three games. He’s got one last chance to bite back now, but even if he doesn't, at least it bodes well for Set 2 if he can stay on top of his own game.

DJOKOVIC 5-2 ZVEREV

Novak is almost left ruing a poor decision with a drop shot. It gives Zverev a look-in at 15-30 and the German is soon eyeing up double break point when the Serb pulls a backhand wide. Clutch serving gets the world number one out of trouble and a brace of overheads see him squirm free to move within a game of the opening set.

DJOKOVIC 4-2 ZVEREV

The world number seven is beginning to breach the Nole defences with some blistering shot-making. He’s firmly engaged now and needs to maintain it if he’s to take advantage of any lull from the top seed.

DJOKOVIC 4-1 ZVEREV

Sascha looks to have settled down a bit. He wins the point of the match after a quite brilliant rally, but it’s the only one he gets despite giving Nole more to think about in the exchanges. Djoker stays in control.

Novak Djokovic

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DJOKOVIC 3-1 ZVEREV

That is much needed. Zverev corks winners off both flanks on his way to a commanding love hold. He’s on the board, but the early damage leaves him with plenty of work to do to reel Djoker back within range.

DJOKOVIC 3-0 ZVEREV

Too good. Djokovic shrugs off his own double fault early in the game to easily consolidate to 15. He’s unfazed by a wrong-footing net cord on the concluding point, adjusting brilliantly to bamboozle Zverev with a deft drop shot.

BREAK! – DJOKOVIC 2-0 ZVEREV

That’s a nightmare for Zverev, but what a start from Nole! The Serb snatches triple break point with some fast hands to slap a sensational crosscourt backhand winner onto the line. He then misses by a whisker after an exhausting rally before the double fault woes come back to haunt Sascha.

DJOKOVIC 1-0 ZVEREV

The Serbinator locks in early here. A delicious volley on the stretch seals a sublime opening rally before a succession of powerhouse serves secure a routine, love hold.

Djoker's year - should it have been even better?

Earlier this week, this scribe suggested Djokovic knows all too well from his experience of the year 2020 that perfect starts don’t always pay off perfectly and that there may well be bumps ahead in the road to a sixth title here. Daniil Medvedev provided one said bump in this pool after his routine win over Diego Schwartzman. Will Zverev send him careering into an early exit or will he navigate himself safely into the last four?

View from the baselines

Djokovic: “Zverev and Medvedev are probably in the best form of anyone at this tournament indoors. They’ve won two tournaments in a row and played in the finals in Paris. Those guys are very tall and have big serves and lots of weapons from the back of the court, solid backhands and forehands also.”

Zverevon facing Nole: “He’s going to be difficult. I think he’s the favourite in our group and everybody’s going to look forward to playing him. You have to play your best to have a chance against him.”

Head to head

Djokovic leads the match up 3-2. The Serb won their most recent meeting at the 2019 French Open in straight sets. They have faced off twice before on indoor hard, both times at the 2018 ATP finals. Nole eased to a 6-4 6-1 success in the round robin before being stunned 6-4 6-3 in the final.

Alexander Zverev won the ATP Finals in 2018

Image credit: PA Sport

Time for tennis

First up in the singles it’s a decisive round-robin encounter in Group Tokyo 1970. World number one Novak Djokovic meets Alexander Zverev with the winner set to face Dominic Thiem in Saturday’s semi final.

Alexander Zverev and Novak Djokovic

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DAY FIVE RECAP

Nadal halts Tsitsipas comeback to reach semis

Rafael Nadal booked his spot in the last four at the ATP Finals with a three-set win over defending champion Stefanos Tsitsipas, who bowed out of the tournament.

With a place in the semi-finals on the line for the victor, Nadal prevailed 6-4 4-6 6-2.

The Spaniard will face Daniil Medvedev for a spot in the final. Nadal has never won the season-ending tournament but is now just two matches from the title.

The Spaniard needed a win to progress having arrived with one victory and one defeat, against Andrey Rublev and Dominic Thiem respectively, in his opening two matches in Group London 2020.

Rublev upsets Thiem in straight sets

Andrey Rublev produced a superb performance to beat Dominic Thiem in straight sets on day five of the ATP Finals.

The tournament debutant converted his third match point to cruise through the dead rubber and seal a 6-2 7-5 triumph in one hour and 14 minutes.

Victory concludes a super year for the world number eight, who bows out of the tournament in style.

Thiem was flat throughout and clearly not fired up given he had already qualified as group winner. His 300th career win will have to wait and he’ll hope it comes in Saturday’s semi-finals.

Victory was Rublev's first at the ATP Finals in his final match of the group, following on from defeats to Stefanos Tsitsipas and Rafael Nadal.

Thiem will face the runner-up in the Tokyo 1970 group, a quartet that consists of Novak Djokovic, Daniil Medvedev, Alexander Zverev and Diego Schwartzman.

ATP Finals - Friday order of play

Morning session, from midday

  • Pavic/Soares (1) v Peers/Venus
  • Djokovic (1) v Zverev (5)

Evening session, from 5:45pm

  • Granollers/Zeballos (4) v Melzer/Roger-Vasselin (7)
  • Medvedev (4) v Schwartzman (8)

Who is playing?

The eight singles players competing at this year’s ATP Finals will be Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem, Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alexander Zverev, Andrey Rublev and Diego Schwartzman.

Nadal, Thiem and Medvedev are through to the semi-finals, with Djokovic and Zverev battling it out for the last spot.

This year qualification is based on the ATP rankings (excluding points gained at last year’s ATP Finals) rather than a ‘Race to London’ ranking due to the disrupted season.

What’s the schedule?

The tournament at London's O2 Arena runs from November 15 to November 22.

There will be two singles matches played every day before the semi-finals on Saturday, November 21 and the final on Sunday, November 22.

What are the groups?

Group Tokyo 1970

  • Novak Djokovic
  • Daniil Medvedev
  • Alexander Zverev
  • Diego Schwartzman

Group London 2020

  • Rafael Nadal
  • Dominic Thiem
  • Stefanos Tsitsipas
  • Andrey Rublev

What’s the format?

The eight singles players are divided into two four-player groups, with each player facing their three group rivals and the top two from each group advancing to the semi-finals. Standings are determined by number of wins and if players are tied then it is decided on by their head-to-head record.

Rublev, who has won five titles in 2020, and Schwartzman, will be competing at the finals for the first time. There will be four players aged 24 and under for the second straight year.

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