Danil Medvedev: "Playing the ATP Cup is cool" - UBITENNIS
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Danil Medvedev: “Playing the ATP Cup is cool”

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Last year’s ATP Finals champion Danil Medvedev will make his first appearance of the 2021 season, when Russia will take on Argentina in a 2020 knockout stage re-match.

 

Medvedev led Russia to the semifinal in the inaugural edition of the ATP Cup last year.

“I played the ATP Cup in 2020. These team competitions are always cool, because they put you out of the zone a little bit where you are always focusing on yourself. You want to win as a team. You have a team supporting you, behind you on the bench. It’s something special. We are playing for the country. It’s not usual to have team competitions in tennis. I think guys will feel it from the first second, especially when there is going to be a crowd. Everybody is in a great mood, ready to be there for the team. That’s the most important”, said Medvedev. 

Medvedev beat top two seeds Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal en route to reaching the title match at the ATP Finals in London last November. Medvedev ended the 2020 season by winning back-to-back titles in Paris Bercy and at the ATP Finals in London.

Russia headlines Group D which also includes Argentina and Japan in this week’s ATP Cup.

The Argentine team is led by Diego Schwartzman, who reached the final in the Rome Masters 1000 tournament and qualified for the ATP Finals for the first time in his career.

Schwartzman will lead a strong Argentine team, which features Guido Pella and a doubles team featuring Horacio Zeballos and Maximo Zeballos. 

In the first day Medvedev will face Schwartzman in a re-match of last year’s ATP Cup quarter final. Schwartzman created 10 break points and won his first set against Medvedev in three head-to-head matches. Medvedev fended off eight break points and converted three break points secure Russia a spot in the semifinal. Medvedev leads 5-0 in his head-to-head matches against Schwartzman. 

In their most recent clash Medvedev beat Schwartzman in straight sets en route to the 2020 ATP Finals title match. 

Medvedev led Russia to the semifinals with an unbeaten 4-0 record before losing to Djokovic 6-1 5-7 6-4 in three sets in the semifinal.

On the second day Medvedev will face Nishikori, who will make his debut in the ATP Cup. Nishikori tied 2-2 in his four head-to-head matches against Medvedev. The Japanese player won his only match against Medvedev in their only match on Australian soil in three sets in Brisbane in 2019. 

Rublev will face Guido Pella on Tuesday and Yoshihito Nishioka on Wednesday. The Japanese player beat his Japanese rival in their only head-to-head match in Sydney in 2019. 

Russia is the only team to feature two top 10 players. Medvedev’s countryman Andrey Rublev will be looking to carry his form into the 2021 ATP Cup after an impressive 2020 season. Rublev led the ATP Tour with five ATP Tour titles this year with titles in Doha, Adelaide, Hamburg, St.Petersburg and Vienna and tied Djokovic for the most tour-level wins. 

Rublev is the highest ranked number 2 player in this year’s competition.

“It’s going to be my first experience here. It’s amazing to be part of with such a great guys, especially when Donskoy is the captain. I think we have a great team. You have to be in reality and understand that all the players are playing so good. All the teams are strong. They have all the top players here. It’s going to really tough. In my case. I don’t expect nothing. I just hope we are going to do our best. In the end, what’s going to happen is going to happen. For me, my priority is to give my best, to enjoy, to give everything on the court, and then we will see what’s going to happen”, said Rublev.

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Hamad Medjedovic wins the Next Gen Finals title in Jeddah

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Hamad Medjedovic came back from one set down to beat Arthur Fils 3-4 (6-8) 4-1 4-2 3-4 (9-11) 4-1 after 2 hours and 11 minutes at the Next Gen ATP Finals at King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah. 

 

Medjedovic hit 38 winners to 21 unforced errors. 

The first set went on serve en route to the tie-break. Medjedovic earned a mini-break to take a 3-2 lead and held two set points at 6-4, but he was not able to convert them. Fils won four consecutive points to win the tie-break 8-6. 

Medjedovic earned a break in the second game to win the second set 4-1. 

Medjedovic becomes the sixth Next Gen ATP Finals champion, joining top 10 players Stefanos Tsitsipas, Jannik Sinner and Carlos Alcaraz. The 20-year-old Serbian player is the lowest-ranked champion in tournament history. 

Medjedovic started the third set with an early break in the first game. The Serbian player held on his serve to seal the set 4-2. 

Medjedovic recovered from squandering two match points at 6-4 in a thrilling tie-break of the fourth set at 5-6 and 7-8. Fils saved both chances on second serves and won four of the next five points to win the tie-break 11-9 forcing the match to a deciding set. 

to win the first five-set final in tournament history. The Serbian player won 88% and converted his third match point to clinch the biggest title of his career so far. 

Medjedovic earned a break in the second game of the fifth set. Fils earned himself a penalty point for a smash of his raquet and went down 0-3. Medjedovic held on his next service games and converted his third match point. 

“Two of us from Serbia. Djokovic won the big Masters, the real one, and I won the Next Gen. Obviously it’s a huge thing and I am happy to follow in his footsteps in some way. I can’t believe I have won this title. It’s going to give me a lot of confidence for 2024. Arthur is an amazing player. He is top 40 for a reason”, said Medjedovic. 

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Elena Rybakina headlines a strong line-up in Adelaide

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Elena Rybakina, Zheng Qinwen, Carolina Garcia and Angelique Kerber will highlight the Adelaide International, a WTA 500 tournament.

 

Rybakina reached the final at the Adelaide International on her tournament debut in 2022, losing to now retired Ashleigh Barty. Rybakina went on to win her first Grand Slam title at Wimbledon later last year. The Kazakh player finished runner-up to Aryna Sabalenka in the Australian Open final in 2023. 

Zheng won her first WTA 500 title in Zhengzhou and reached the final in Zhuhai, ending the 2023 season at a career-high of world number 15. 

Angelique Kerber will make her come-back to the WTA Tour at the United Cup before playing her first WTA draw in Adelaide. Kerber gave birth to her daughter Liana last February. The German player won titles at the 2016 Australian Open and in Sydney 2018 and reached in Sydney 2014 and in Brisbane 2018. 

Kerber is one of the three former number 1 players, who are making her come-back on the WTA Tour after giving birth to their children. 

Caroline Wozniacki lost to eventual champion Coco Gauff in the Round of 16 at the US Open in her third tournament back. 

Four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka is planning to make her return next January after giving back to her child Shai last July. 

“It’s definitely way more tournaments than I used to play. So I think some people will be happy with that. I realized that I don’t know how the beginning of the year is going to go for me. I don’t know the level of player and I think I have to ease into it. At the very least, I will set myself up for a very good end of the year”, said Osaka.

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Arthur Fils beats Luca Van Assche in all-French semifinal at the Next Gen ATP Finals in Jeddah

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World number 36 Arthur Fils beat his friend Luca Van Assche 2-4 4-1 4-3 (7-1) 4-3 (8-6) in an all-French clash after 1 hour and 37 minutes to reach the final at the Next Gen ATP Finals in Jeddah. 

 

Van Assche, who was born in Belgium but moved to Belgium when he was three years old, broke serve in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead and served out the first set to 15. Van Assche won 12 of the last 14 points. 

Fils hit a couple of big forehands to earn three break points at 2-1 15-40. Van Assche saved one break point with a volley, but Fils converted his second chance to open up a 3-1 lead, as Van Assche netted a backhand. Fils served out with a hold at 15 to level the match at one set apiece. 

The first five games of the third set went on serve. Van Assche led 2-3 30-40 on Fils’serve to earn two set points. 

Fils saved them before racing out to a 5-0 lead. Van Assche won his first point with a forehand. Fils earned five set points and closed it out when Van Assche netted a backhand. 

Fils won 22 consecutive points on his first serve until 2-1 in the fourth set. Van Assche faced a match point at 2-3, but Van Assche saved it to force another tie-break. Fils opened up a 4-1 with a mini-break. Van Assche won three points to 4-4 before saving two match points at 4-6 and 5-6. Fils hit a forehand to earn a fourth match point and converted it when Van Assche sent a backhand over the baseline. 

Van Assche beat Fils in the boys’ singles final at 2021 Roland Garros. Fils won his first title in Lyon last May. 

“I played every point trying everything with my forehand, moving very good. I was very happy with the tie-break. Today was a tough match against a great friend. We have known each other since we were nine, so it was a little bit tough and I am happy with the win. I came onto the court with the mindset that I can win. The first set was tough, he was playing very good and defending so well, running very fast. I kept my focus and I am really happy with the win”, said Fils. 

Fils set up a final clash against Hamad Medjedovic, who advanced to the championships match, when Dominic Stricker was forced to withdraw in the second set due to a back injury in the semifinal. 

Medjedovic was leading 4-3 (7-5) 2-1 when Stricker walked to the net and ended the match. 

Medjedovic hit 12 winners to 3 unforced errors. The Serbian player won three matches in the round-robin group. 

Medjedovic won 93% of his first serve points in the first set. Stricker did not drop a point on his first serve. Medjedovic earned his only mini-break to seal the tie-break 7-5. 

Medjedovic earned an early break in the third game of the second set to take a 2-1 lead before Stricker retired from the match. 

Medjedovic reached two semifinals in Gstaad and Astana. He is coached by Viktor Troicki. Stricker advanced to the semifinals at the 2022 Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan. 

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