ATP Finals: Medvedev and Zverev makes winning start

ATP Finals: Daniil Medvedev.

ATP Finals 2021, Turin: Daniil Medvedev overcomes Hubert Hurkacz with a 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-4 victory to start his campaign 1-0 in Red Group. Meanwhile, Matteo Berrettini’s retirement gave Alexander Zverev a win too.

Medvedev turns the match around.

In a tight first set, for which the Russian had to work hard just to stay in it, Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz outmuscles his opponent to grab the set in a tie break.

Daniil Medvedev at ATP Finals.
Daniil Medvedev at ATP Finals.

However, World No. 2 stayed calm battling his way back in the second set. His serving was on target while his trademark of playing deep to counter the pacey serves and winners paid off taking the second set with ease.

The third set was no different, holding his service games while breaking the Polish only once, the recent US Open 2021 winner claimed the match after two hours and one minute of the war.

“I had zero breakpoints to save, so in a way, I was never under pressure,” Medvedev said in his on-court interview. “I had only two games on Hubert’s serve where I had breakpoints. Super happy to make this work and [that I] managed to get both breaks.”

Hubert Hurkacz.
Hubert Hurkacz.

Both players were impressive with nothing really to separate the two. However, grabbing the opportunity and making the most of it is the key to becoming No. 1 which Medvedev did perfectly.

The Russian is on a run of winning 23 matches of the last 26 he played with 19 of them being straight-set victories. While Hurkacz played fearless tennis showing his variety could not challenge the World No. 2.

After winning the second set and hitting a smash to break early in the third set, Medvedev won perhaps the point of the match and waved his arms to get the Turin crowd involved. On the 29th shot of the rally — in which he played dogged defense — Medvedev hit a stunning backhand passing shot. 

Daniil Medvedev at ATP Finals.

“I remember this point because that’s the only point in the match where I could actually interact with the crowd a little bit,” Medvedev said. “Other than that, it was aces, winners, and unforced errors.”

The serving was quite impressive from Medvedev blasting 15 aces and winning 83% of his first-serve points. He even did not face any breakpoints which shows the domination he had on the Polish ATP Finals debutant.

Medvedev (55-12) is now tied for the most tour-level wins this season, joining Stefanos Tsitsipas (55-18) and Zverev (55-14).

Alexander Zverev in action during ATP Finals.
Alexander Zverev in action during ATP Finals.

Matteo Berrettini’s injury spoils his homecoming in ATP Finals.

Playing against the German star Alexander Zverev, Matteo Berrettini, showed great tennis in the first set which lasted for almost 79 minutes.

The match was running tight. Zverev although grabbing the first set and 1-0 up in the second set, faced a great fight from the Italian. It was at that point that Matteo had to call a medical timeout. However, he continued after the inspection but it was an effort that can lead to complicated injury.

He chooses to retire, the Italian, and both players shook hands. Zverev even climbed over the net to embrace and console him.

“I don’t really know what to say, because this is the worst feeling a player can have,” Zverev said in his on-court interview. “You play all year long to qualify for this beautiful tournament. For Matteo playing at home, this is the worst feeling I think he will ever have in his career.”

Matteo Berrettini suffers an injury, withdraws from ATP Finals.
Matteo Berrettini suffers an injury, withdraws from ATP Finals.

“I thought the first set was incredibly high-level tennis. This is all not important,” Zverev said. “The most important thing is that both players at the end of the match can shake hands and are healthy. Today this is not the case. I think a lot of you guys, everybody here in Italy looked forward to seeing [Matteo] play all three matches, maybe the semi-finals, maybe the final.”

Matteo came close to winning the first set with two set points in his hands. However, the German resisted and saved both of them aided by missed backhand returns by Matteo. The Italian’s first set point was his best opportunity, but he lost balance as he leaped to return a second serve and launched the return well long.

The German then rallied from 3/5 down in the tie-break and ultimately took the set after putting a forehand return from full stretch within inches of Berrettini’s baseline.

ATP Finals Day 1 highlights.