Daniil Medvedev ends Novak Djokovic’s unbeaten run in Dubai

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DUBAI: Daniil Medvedev ended Novak Djokovic’s perfect start to the season at the Dubai Tennis Championships as he defeated world number on Friday to set up a title clash with Russian star Andrey Rublev.

Medvedev was locked in from ball one, triumphing 6-4, 6-4 to extend his winning streak to 13 matches.

To deflect Djokovic’s ball-striking, the third seed positioned himself far behind the baseline. In comparison to Djokovic’s 38 unforced errors, Medvedev made just 12. He also moved quickly across the court, chasing down several drop drops, and eventually won the match after one hour and 35 minutes.

In February, the 27-year-old won titles at the tour level in Rotterdam and Doha. When he takes on Andrey Rublev in the final on Saturday, he will look to win his 18th tour-level championship and 17th on hard courts.

Defeating Djokovic in the 2021 US Open final, Medvedev prevented the Serbian from being the first person to win the Grand Slam since Rod Laver in 1969. Yet the top seed has beaten Medvedev four times in a row coming into the match at the ATP 500 in Dubai.

Though the World No. 7 Medvedev limited errors and won the longer rallies to improve to 5-9 in their ATP Head2Head series, he was unable to make it five and build on his 15-0 start to the season.

Djokovic had trouble maintaining a rhythm when playing Medvedev. In the opening set, he attempted to pressure Medvedev’s deep court return position by serving and volleying, but he found it difficult to pull it off. In the second set, he unleashed an all-out assault on Medvedev, striking with force and precision. He tried to hit through the third seed, who was acting like a brick wall, but he was unsuccessful.

“When you play against Novak you just have to play your best. Kind of hope he doesn’t play his best on the day because when he plays his best, well he has 22 Grand Slams, so even if you play your best, it is going to be tough, not sure you win,” ATP.com quoted Medvedev as saying.

“I managed to play a higher level than him today. In the second set I didn’t face one break point, but there were so many 30/30 games. But I managed to stay composed and I am happy to be in the final tomorrow,” he added. (ANI)

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