Russian tennis player Daniil Medvedev secured a surprisingly comfortable straight-sets win over Novak Djokovic to qualify for the last four of the ATP Finals.
The two players shared the opening six games of the match before Medvedev soared clear. The Russian was helped by a number of Djokovic errors and he breezed through 6-3 6-3 in one hour and 22 minutes.
It was a result that saw the Medvedev make the qualification from Group Tokyo 1970. Djokovic’s fate will now depend on his final group match against the German Alexander Zverev.
“I’m sure he didn’t play his best but it happens to everybody,” Medvedev said post-match.
“I always say the ‘Big Three’ are champions because it happens to them less than everyone else. I’m feeling confident. I knew I had to take my chances and it was a great match for me.”
Djokovic came under early pressure in the match. He saved two break points in the third game by coming out on top after a 30-shot rally at 30-40.
Both players were striking the ball well, but a double fault from Djokovic saw him fall 15-40 behind again in the seventh game. The World No. 1 saved both to get to deuce, yet Medvedev won the gruelling 11-and-a-half minute game to break serve.
The Russian followed up with a strong hold and, when Djokovic double faulted twice, was then handed a way into the next game. More uncharacteristic Djokovic errors gave Medvedev a set point. A third double fault of the game sealed the set in Medvedev’s favour.
The 24-year-old then rattled through a quick service game to start the second set. He convincingly won a sixth game in a row as errors continued to flow from Djokovic’s racquet.
The Serb had a good chance to break back at 2-0 but Medvedev stubbornly chased down a drop shot and resiliently held to extend his lead.
Djokovic had an ominous start to the next game with his fifth double fault of the match. But the highest ranked player rallied hard from a 25th unforced error to turn around 15-30 and stop the rot.
Medvedev’s counted on the strength of his serve. He fired down back-to-back aces to get to 5-2.
Djokovic held to love to put the pressure on Medvedev, but the Russian had no problems serving out a convincing win.