Medvedev wins ahead of Nadal showdown

Medvedev wins ahead of Nadal showdown

21/11/2020

Daniil Medvedev maintained his excellent form at the ATP Tour Finals on Friday, beating Diego Schwartzman 6-3 6-3 in what was essentially a dead rubber.

Medvedev, the world No. 4, had already defeated Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev this week to set up a semi-final showdown with Rafael Nadal, but there was no letting up on Friday. If there was further momentum to gain with a third straight win, Medvedev seized that opportunity.

In truth, all areas of the pre-match form book suggested this would finish in a Medvedev win. He led the head-to-head 4-0, three wins of which came in straight sets. Schwartzman had already twice fallen to the Russian in 2020.

The conditions also suit Medvedev, who is looking to add the ATP Tour Finals title to his Paris Masters win earlier in the year. He loves the indoor surface, something that cannot be said of Schwartzman.

Predictably, it was Medvedev who broke first, accepting one of four break chances to take control of the opening set.

Nadal undoubtedly would have been studying for weaknesses in the Russian's game, but he will have found little encouragement with Medvedev's first serve. The 24-year-old won every point (13) when his first delivery landed in the opening set.

Schwartzman, to his credit, didn't come to roll over. His shots just lacked the same sizzle as those coming back in his direction.

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At 3-5 the world No. 9 served to stay in the set, but Medvedev carved out two more break chances, converting in order to serve at the start of the second.

Schwartzman was now firmly on the back foot, fighting hard to see off two more break opportunities that surely would have killed the contest.

Medvedev, though, has the look of a player who believes he can win in London. His relentless pursuit of another breakthrough continued and within the hour he had a 6-3, 3-1 lead and a complete stranglehold on the match.

It was a dominant performance, both on serve and when receiving, and Nadal will know Saturday's encounter is no foregone conclusion.

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