Daniil Medvedev edges out Alexander Zverev at ATP Finals

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Daniil Medvedev maintained his hold over Alexander Zverev with a thrilling victory in their heavyweight showdown at the ATP Finals.

In the first headline clash at this year’s season-ending event in Turin, defending champion and world number two Medvedev edged past third-ranked Zverev, the 2018 winner, 6-3 6-7 (3) 7-6 (6).

The Russian, who claimed his maiden grand slam title at the US Open in September, has now won the last five meetings with his German rival and leads their career head-to-head 6-5.

Zverev has also enjoyed a stellar season, the highlight of which was a gold medal at the Olympics, but Medvedev clearly has his number at the moment.

Their last meeting came just 10 days ago in Paris, a 6-2 6-2 triumph for Medvedev.

This was a lot closer, although Medvedev was in total control of the first set after securing a break in Zverev’s opening service game.

The 25-year-old was irked by a marginal foot-fault call which cost him a point in the second-set tie-break, sarcastically giving a thumbs-down gesture to the crowd, as Zverev levelled the match.

But in the third Medvedev saved a break point for 6-5 and came from a mini-break down in the decisive tie-break to make it two round-robin wins out of two.

“Today’s match was a matter of few points, it was a really close match,” said Medvedev.

“I’m just happy that I made it against such a such a strong opponent, especially this year, he has so many victories and titles. So I’m happy that I managed to have the edge in three meetings we had this year.

Italy Tennis ATP Finals
Alexander Zverev lost a last-set tie-break (Luca Bruno/AP)

“If we are talking about the game, maybe I understand his game a little bit, and some things, but as we saw today, he definitely understands mine also.”

Matteo Berrettini’s withdrawal from the tournament through injury means Medvedev is already through to the semi-finals with one match to play, against Berrettini’s replacement, the 20-year-old Italian Jannik Sinner.

“I think Jannik is in great shape right now in general. He won a lot of matches on the rise up,” added Medvedev.

“He’s going to play his first ATP Finals. It’s going to be big experience for him.”

Sinner’s Finals debut came later on Tuesday against his good friend and occasional doubles partner Hubert Hurkacz, and he took his chance with both hands.

The world number 11 gave the raucous Italian crowd the victory they had been craving, especially after Berrettini’s retirement against Zverev 48 hours earlier.

Sinner’s 6-2 6-2 success also avenged his defeat by Poland’s Hurkacz in the final of the Miami Open in April.

“In one way it’s a highlight being here but in another it’s not the way you want to play with Matteo being out,” Sinner said in his on-court interview.

“I’m going to play for him this tournament and I’m going to do my best.”

The victory means Sinner will move up to number 10 in the world, giving Italy two players in the top 10 for the first time.

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