Medvedev fights off Nadal to set up ATP Finals showdown with Thiem

Medvedev fights off Nadal to set up ATP Finals showdown with Thiem

He realized in his ATP Finals showdown with No. 1 Novak Djokovic how wrong that notion was. Djokovic fought off four match points during an epic second set breaker. 1-3 in the season-ending championship - and only the fourth to do it at any tour event in the past 30 years.

Nearing defeat, Daniil Medvedev suddenly switched tactics at the ATP Finals and collected the biggest title of his career by beating U.S. Open champion Dominic Thiem 4-6, 7-6 (2), 6-4 on Sunday.

"What he did from 0-4 in the third-set tiebreaker was just unreal", said five-time Finals champion Djokovic. I mean, I don't think I played bad.

There are so many things to watch out for and enjoy. But in the earlier tiebreaker, Thiem acknowledged, "I was mentally not that strong".

The top-ranked Djokovic set up a match against Dominic Thiem on Saturday as he goes for a record-tying sixth title at the tournament, and a first since 2015.

Daniil Medvedev of Russian Federation smiles after winning against Rafael Nadal of Spain in their semifinal match at the ATP World Finals tennis tournament at the O2 arena in London, Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. It is a awful shame that one player will not be remembered for their efforts this week but that makes for what should be an awe-inspiring contest between rather differently brilliant players.

This could well be one of the more famous ATP Finals as the world numbers three and four take to court to make a statement for the future in London's final match as host. This year's group is quite a quartet: They won the past 10 Grand Slam titles and the last nine Masters 1000 trophies.

Both Djokovic and Nadal were well in position to put away their younger foes and reach the final, but failed to finish the job.

Medvedev defeats Thiem captures ATP Finals title Sports50 minutes agoVideo3:08
Medvedev defeats Thiem captures ATP Finals title Sports50 minutes agoVideo3:08

Rafael Nadal's wait for a first ATP Finals win rolls on for at least another year after he slumped out in the semis to Daniil Medvedev in London.

But in the final breaker, Djokovic looked well in command at 4-0 until Thiem made a decision to just go for broke.

Nadal held his nerve to force a tie-break, in which a slice of good fortune with a lob saw Medvedev take a 6-3 lead, with the set sealed in his favour on the second set point.

Having been in control in the early stages and racing to 40-0 on his own serve, Medvedev lost four points through a series of sloppy forehand errors before double-faulting to hand Thiem a crucial break.

But Djokovic saved that initial chance with a 127 miles per hour service victor. "I had to change and it worked really well", said Medvedev, who was 100% in group play, including a win over Djokovic.

The third was at 9-8, when he pushed a down-the-line forehand wide.

The third seed produced a searing forehand victor to set up the first and only break point in the 11th game of the first set and Djokovic netted with a volley.

However, Thiem did have a chance to take the second set, racking up two break points in the seventh game thanks to his deep hitting. Andy Murray is the other.