Medvedev stops Djokovic’s run, books Dubai final at Rublev

Daniil Medvedev delivered his first loss of the year to Novak Djokovic, defeating world No. 1 Djokovic 6-4, 6-4 on Friday to reach the final of the Dubai Tennis Championships, just weeks away from holder Andrei Rublev. Won the title for the third time.

In a contest in which players staked their early-season win streak, Rotterdam and Doha champion Medvedev broke error-prone Djokovic twice to draw first blood and cap the first set with a blazing forehand. .

Djokovic, who is playing in his first tournament since winning the Adelaide and Australian Open titles, has made few mistakes, aside from a small fright in his opener against Thomas Machak.

The 35-year-old had his moments and looked the better player after trailing 2-5 in the first set, but he served again after hitting a return long early in the second set. dropped.

For Medvedev, it was an opening he could only dream of achieving his goal of a fifth victory over Djokovic in 14 games.

Former US Open champion Medvedev took the decisive hold with a service ace to extend his next service game win streak to 13.

“When you play Novak, you have to do your best. I just hope he doesn’t do that on the day because when he does…he has 22 Grand Slams, so it’s going to be tough. It will be and you won’t necessarily win,” Medvedev said.

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic faces Russia’s Daniil Medvedev in the semi-finals of the ATP Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on March 3, 2023 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Amr Alfiky/Reuters)

“I am happy that I was able to play at a higher level than him.

“I was feeling good before the game, but now I’m a little bit off. I was not good at it, and I was also not good at sweating.

“We always put up a tough fight and I’m looking forward to the next match.”

Russia’s Rublev earned his first career win over Alexander Zverev to reach the final, winning 6–3 7–6 (9) on his sixth match point.

“I thought it would be the third set,” said Rublev, who is aiming for his 13th ATP title on Saturday. “I was mentally prepared, but I managed to save the set point.”

It was the first semi-final for Zverev, who underwent surgery for an ankle injury at the French Open, and the German showed a glimpse of the form that saw him finish second in the world last year.

But a determined Rublev recovered from the dip in his level and made sure there was no drama in the second half.

“There were some match points, but he played well. I made a good return at 9-9 and said, ‘Okay, let’s try here.’ I won a crazy rally and I was lucky,” he said.