Dubai, Mar. 4 (BNA): Daniil Medvedev handed Novak Djokovic his first defeat this year by beating world number one 6-4 6-4 on Friday to reach the final of the Dubai Tennis Championships, where he will play defending champion Andrey Rublev for the third time. address in several weeks.
It was Rotterdam and Doha champion Medvedev who drew first blood by breaking a twice-fault-prone Djokovic and closing out the first set with a smashing forehand in a contest where players put their early winning streaks to the test, Reuters reported.
Playing in his first tournament since winning the Adelaide and Australian Open titles, Djokovic barely set foot on the wrong foot except for a minor scare in the opening match against Tomasz Machak.
The 35-year-old had his moment and looked his best after being down 5-2 in the opening set but dropped serve again early in the second after scoring a long comeback.
It was the opener Medvedev could only dream of in his bid for a fifth win over Djokovic in 14 matches and slammed the Russian 4-2 after some high-octane tennis.
Medvedev, the former US Open champion, pulled away further with a jab to seal the decisive win and claim his 13th consecutive win in his next match.
“When you play Novak you just have to give your best and I hope he doesn’t do that that day because when he does…he has 22 grand slams so it’s going to be tough and it’s not certain you’re going to win,” Medvedev said.
“I’m glad I was able to play at a higher level than him… I kept my calm and I’m really happy to be in the final.
“I was feeling great before this match but I feel a little worse now. Every time you play Novak it’s tough physically. Lots of rallies. It was wetter today and he wasn’t happy about sweating, I wasn’t happy about sweating.”
“We always have tough fights and I’m looking forward to the next fight.”
And earlier, Russian Rublev reached the final with his first career victory over Alexander Zverev, concluding his victory 6-3, 7-6 (9) on his sixth match point.
“I was thinking it would be the third set,” said Rublev, who will win his 13th ATP title on Saturday. “I was preparing for it mentally but somehow I kept to a point.”
It was Zverev’s first semi-final since he injured his ankle at Roland Garros and had surgery and the German showed glimpses of the form that saw him finish second in the world last year.
But the determined Rublev recovered from a drop in his form to ensure that there was no belated drama.
“I had a couple of match points but he played well. At 9-9 I made a good comeback and I said ‘Okay, let’s try to make it here’. I won a crazy run and I was lucky,” he said.