Dominic Thiem was closing in on winning the ATP Finals in London on Sunday, that was until Daniil Medvedev changed his game and turned the match around winning the second set and going on to win the third.
The win gave Daniil Medvedev, who defeated Dominic Thiem, the winner of the U.S. Open and No. 3 ranked player in the world, the biggest win of his career. Medvedev, who is ranked fourth, also entered the history books as he became the first player to defeat all those ranked above him during a single championship event. This is a feat that only four others have pulled off in three decades and a comeback that Medvedev will remember for a lifetime.
Medvedev earned his spot in the final after racking up a first-round victory over Novak Djokovic and a second-round victory over Rafael Nadal. The final, which lasted close to three hours, was played without fans in attendance due to safety measures in relating to the coronavirus pandemic.
The season-ending win was a stellar performance for Medvedev, who won all five matches, compared to last season when he lost three back-to-back matches at the finals. This years event was the last for London as the tournament will next be played in Turin, Italy.
At 24, Medvedev brought an end to the 2020 season with ten wins, with seven of those being against other top 10- ranked players. However, he faced some early hurdles against Thiem, whose power and defence at the baseline was instrumental in giving him an early lead.
However, Medvedev changed tactics, and Thiem seemed unable to overcome the changes. Yet, it wasn’t until the middle of the third set before Medvedev pulled off his sixth chance at breaking service. The move was enough to give him an edge and one that saw him not having to deal with any other break points for the remainder of the match.
Early into the first set, Thiem jumped ahead 2-0 but it didn’t take long for Daniil Medvedev to rush the net and change gears, far more than has been seen in the past. This came when serving and when firing off returns and the result netted him seven back-to-back points.
Seeing the impact it had on Thiem during the second set, Medvedev stayed the course and used the same strategy during the third. The change for Thiem, who has won their four previous matches, enough to throw him off his game. While Thiem had multiple opportunities during the second set to take the lead, he simply was unable. In one, he failed to connect with a short shot, and Medvedev followed that up with an ace.
The second set, which lasted almost as long as the first, saw both players fighting hard with neither willing to lay down. Medvedev was quick to respond to Thiem and took little time to tie the opening match. He also went won three back-to-back break points. After winning the second set and forcing a third, Medvedev finally managed to break Thiem for the first time. Thereafter, the Australian took control and went up 4-2 in the third. It was enough to keep Thiem at bay and gave Medvedev the win.
In other ATP Finals news, Nikola Mektic and Wesley Koolhof defeated Edouard Roger-Vasselin and Jurgen Melzer in the men’s doubles title in three sets. After ending the second set tied, it was Mektic and Wesley Koolhof who managed to win the last five points to win the final set 10-5.