Andrey Rublev brushed off a string of missed opportunities and his frustration to earn a dramatic victory against Daniil Medvedev at the Nitto ATP Finals on Monday.
In a thrilling clash, Rublev recovered from squandering seven set points in the first set as he shock off his disappointment to earn a statement 6-7(7), 6-3, 7-6(7) victory on his fifth match point in Turin.
The 25-year-old was at his heavy-hitting best against the fourth seed in his opening Red Group match. He struck 25 winners across the second and third sets, penetrating Medvedev’s defence in the fast indoor conditions with his flat and precise groundstrokes, before he outlasted Medvedev in an epic 37-shot rally to finally seal victory on his fifth match point in the third-set tie-break.
“I was thinking about the US Open, because when we played in the quarter-finals in 2020, I think I was 5/1 in a tie-break, also something like 6/2, but I was leading something similar in a tie-break,” Rublev said. “But when I lost that set, I couldn’t play anymore, and I was thinking it cannot happen the same [again], I have to change something. I have to keep playing, because if I win one set, even if I lose in three sets, it’s still good, because here you have a group. So you have to fight for every point, every game, and I was able to win.
“The final tie-break, the rallies that we had there were crazy. The last rally, we had I don’t know, 30 shots. I was cramping a bit already, but I was thinking ‘One more, one more’. You have to keep playing. For sure he felt the same, so just keep playing if you have the chance, just go for it’. In the end I was able to win.”
Rublev dropped to the floor in delight following his two-hour, 31-minute win, before he jumped up and embraced the roar from the vocal crowd. With his victory, Rublev has improved to 2-4 in his ATP Head2Head series against Medvedev.
Rublev, who entered the match holding a 2-4 record at the event, will also face Stefanos Tsitsipas and Novak Djokovic in the Red Group, with the Greek facing the Serbian in the night session on Monday.
Competing in front of a packed crowd in Turin, Rublev hugged the baseline as he took the ball early off both wings to take time away from Medvedev. The 25-year-old also remained disciplined, waiting patiently in the long exchanges, taking his shots on when Medvedev dropped the ball short. Rublev was clinical in attack, winning the point 82 per cent of the time when attacking.
The sixth seed is looking to regain his best form in Turin, having suffered second-round exits in Vienna and Paris. Earlier this year, the World No. 7 lifted tour-level trophies in Marseille, Dubai, Belgrade and Gijon.
Medvedev has proven tough to stop at the Nitto ATP Finals in recent years, winning the title in 2020 before advancing to the final last year. However, the 26-year-old struggled to find consistency against Rublev, with the sixth seed forcing Medvedev into errors with his baseline aggression.
Medvedev is aiming to become the 11th player to win multiple Nitto ATP Finals titles this week. In 2020, he defeated Dominic Thiem in a three-set thriller to win the biggest title of his career at the time.