Danil Medvedev: "It's not going to be easy against Thiem" - UBITENNIS
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Danil Medvedev: “It’s not going to be easy against Thiem”

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Danil Medvedev came back from one set down to beat world number 2 and 20-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal 3-6 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 in the semifinal of the ATP Finals reaching his maiden ATP Finals title match. 

 

The Russian player avenged his defeat against Nadal, who came back from 1-5 down in the third set to beat Medvedev 6-7 (3-7) 6-3 7-6 (7-4) in a round-robin match at last year’s edition of the ATP Finals. 

“To beat Rafael, you need everything, a good backhand, good forehand, working that day. Mentally you need to be strong, because he is there for all the points. I really felt strange until 5-4 for him in the second set, when he was serving for the match. It felt like I was doing like great shots but there was no link in my game and that was why I was losing. Rafa was better in the important moments.”, said Medvedev in the post match press conference. 

Medvedev remains undefeated at this year’s edition of the ATP Finals and will face Dominic Thiem in tonight’s final. 

The top four players of the ATP Ranking reached the semifinals of the Nitto ATP Finals for the first time since 2004. It will be the sixth consecutive year with a different Nitto ATP Finals champion. 

Both Medvedev and Thiem beat the top two seeds of the ATP Finals Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. 

“It’s great that we managed to beat two of the biggest players in the history of sport. I think it’s super for tennis. We are starting to take our marks. Dominic won his first Slam and he is playing unbelievable tennis right now. It’s not going to be easy. Hopefully I can play good like this. I can cause him some troubles”, said Medvedev. 

Thiem and Medvedev first met in an early-round junior match in Umag. At that time Medvedev was just 14 years, while Thiem was the reigning Roland Garos Junior champion. 

“Dominic destroyed me 2-0. I think I maybe made a tweener winner if I am not mistaken. Actually I lost the memory of this match, and he reminded me of it in some interview one time about it. I had a crazy attitude on the court then, like ten times worse than right now. Thiem told me after the match: You are going to have a good future maybe, but you need to be a little bit more calm”, recalled Medvedev. 

The Austrian player leads 3-1 in his four head-to-head matches against his younger Russian rival. 

Thiem beat Medvedev in the quarter finals in St. Petersburg in 2018, in the final in Barcelona in 2019 and and in the semifinal at the US Open this year. Medvedev scored his only win against Thiem in the quarter finals of the Rogers Cup in Montreal in 2019 during the impressive North American campaign, when he won his maiden Masters 1000 title in Cincinnati and reached his first Grand Slam final at the US Open. Medvedev reached six consecutive finals and won three titles last year. 

Medvedev praised Thiem, who edged Novak Djokovic in the semifinal in a very tight match on Saturday to reach his second consecutive title match at the ATP Finals. 

“I think Dominic is an amazing player. I think it’s going to be great tennis. When I lost against him at the US Open, I was sitting in the locker room and I was like: ”I was playing good in this match”. However, he managed to do it, he won his first Grand Slam. The first two times on Centre Court I practised here was with him. We had good rallies. It was  a really good level of tennis and I said to my coach: “He can go fare here”. I don’t know if he said the same, but I am going to see him tomorrow”, concluded Medvedev. 

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Matteo Berrettini reaches his second Masters 1000 semifinal

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Matteo Berrettini has reached the second Masters 1000 semifinal of his career with his 5-7 6-3 6-0 win over Cristian Garin at the Madrid Mutua Open at the Caja Magica. 

 

Berrettini fought back from 3-6 1-3 down by winning 11 consecutive games to take the win in the third set. 

Garin earned an immediate break in the first game, but Berrettini broke straight back to draw level to 1-1. Garin won seven consecutive points from 5-5 15-30 to claim the first set 7-5 with a break in the 11th game thanks to a backhand passing shot. 

Garin went up a 3-1 lead in the second set with a break in the third game. Berrettini broke back in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3 with a forehand winner on the break point. 

Berrettini earned his second break to take a 5-3 lead, when Garin made three unforced errors. The Italian player served out 6-3 at love with an ace.

Berrettini broke serve in the first game and saved two break-back points in the second game to hold serve for 2-0. Berrettini earned his double break in the third game, as Garin made two consecutive unforced errors at 40-40. Berrettini held serve at duece to race out to a 4-0 lead. Garin missed four game points in the fifth game before dropping serve to trail 0-5, when he committed a double fault and an unforced error. Berrettini served out the third set at love with his 14th ace after 2 hours and 6 minutes to secure his spot in his first Masters 1000 semifinal since Shanghai 2019.    

“I am really proud that I came back from not an easy place mentally after my injury. I really worked hard. There were days. There were days where I wasn’t really feeling into practice because I felt like kind of there was a lot of work to be done. Sometimes I was feeling kind of unlucky that I got injured again. It was just tough, but I came back stronger in Belgrade. For here, I proved to myself that I am strong inside”, said Berrettini. 

Berrettini will take on Casper Ruud in the semifinals. They will battle for a spot into their first Masters 1000 final. Ruud beat Berrettini in the quarter final in Rome last year. 

“I think he is a great player, especially on clay. He has been playing really good, really solid so far this season. We always had tough matches. Last year in Rome it was a really tough match. Still if I think about it, it hurts. I am really looking forward to get my revenge, not in a bad way, but just in a way that’s in a sport way”, said Berrettini. 

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Casper Ruud reaches his third consecutive clay Masters 1000 semifinal

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Casper Ruud beat Alexander Bublik 7-5 6-1 to reach his third career Masters 1000 semifinal at the Madrid Mutua Open after advancing to this stage in Rome in 2020 and Monte-Carlo in 2021. 

 

Ruud backed up his win in the third round against Stefanos Tsitsipas on Thursday with a straight set win over Bublik. Ruud won 8 of the final nine games and hit 19 winners to seal the win in 69 minutes. Ruud hit nine forehand winners to just two unforced forehand errors.

Ruud broke Bublik in the 11th game on his fourth set point to take the first set 7-5, as Bublik was serving at 5-6. The Norwegian player broke twice in the fourth and sixth games to claim the second set 6-1 in 69 minutes. 

The son of former Norwegian player Christian Ruud has not broken yet and faced his first break point this week against Bublik. 

Ruud becomes the seventh unseeded ATP player to advance to the semifinals in Madrid. He will face either Matteo Berrettini or Christian Garin in the semifinal. 

 “It’s a great feeling. It’s my third Masters 1000 semifinal and my third in a row on clay. I am just playing the tennis of my life for the moment and I am enjoying it. I have just had an unbelievable motivation to play the European clay swing and when we didn’t get to play it last year, I was very sad. I think I have just double motivation compared to last year”, said Ruud.

Ruud will move up to at least world number 16 in the ATP Ranking next week. 

“I did a lot of good work when we had the corona break last year. I trained really hard on the weekdays and took the weekends off. I think that worked well. When we started well, I felt good again. I think I am a much better player mentally, physically and playing-wise as well. I am hitting the ball and playing the heavy clay-court game that I like to play”, said Ruud. 

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Aryna Sabalenka beats Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova to set up a re-match of the Stuttgart final against Ashleigh Barty

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Aryna Sabalenka has reached her third final of the season with a 6-2 6-3 win over six-time Grand Slam quarter finalist Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova in the semifinal of the Madrid Mutua Open. 

 

Sabalenka earned her first break to take a 3-1 lead. She hi a series of forehands in the final game to close out the first set 6-2. 

Sabalenka raced out to a 4-0 lead with a double break. Pavlyuchenkova earned her first break points, but Sabalenka held serve for 5-0. Pavlyuchenkova pulled one break in the seventh game and held serve to claw her way back to 3-5. Sabalenka hit two backhands to earn her first match point and sealed the win with her fourth ace .  

Sabalenka has extended her win-loss record to 23-6 (including 9-1) this year. She has won the opening tournament of the season and lost the Stuttgart Porsche Grand Prix final to Ashleigh Barty. 

Barty and Sabalenka will meet again in the Madrid Mutua Open this week in the re-match of the Stuttgart final

The Belarusian player has not dropped a set this week. The Belarusian player won 73 % of her second service points and converted four of her break points against Pavlyuchenkova, who had won their only previous head-to-head match in Toronto in 2019. 

“I think my game has improved a lot on the clay court. For sure, it’s given me some confidence, but there are still so many things to work on. I am just really with my level here in Madrid. I think from the side it looks like everything is going my way. Some games I did not feel my serve. Some games something wasn’t working. It’s always part of the process, but I am really happy that from the side, it looks like everything is going my way”,said Sabalenka. 

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