Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev have met 12 times since 2017. The Serb got eight wins and had to work hard to achieve some of them, with the Russian always giving his 120% against a great rival. Daniil knocked Novak down in last year’s US Open final, preventing him from achieving a calendar Grand Slam.
Medvedev had a huge chance to secure a second consecutive Major title at the Australian Open this year, opening up a huge lead against Rafael Nadal before falling in five sets. Daniil didn’t play as well the rest of the season, battling top-10 rivals and lifting two minor ATP titles.
Medvedev secured a place in the ATP Finals, determined to improve his results and pursue notable victories. Instead, he lost all three round of 16 matches in the deciding tie break, including two when he served to win! Daniil faced Novak in the last round of 16 match, already missing the chance to reach the semi-finals.
Despite this, it became an open war, and Djokovic prevailed 6-3, 6-7, 7-6 in three hours and 11 minutes. Novak struggled physically from the second set, barely staying on his legs and refusing to give up even as Daniil served for victory in the decider.
The Serbian raised his level from 3-3 in the first set to take it 6-3 after 46 minutes. In the first eight games of the second set there was more dynamism and the tie was maintained at 4. Medvedev saved a break point in the ninth game, and Djokovic gave it his all to repel three set points in the next and prolong his chances despite an apparent struggle.
They were even until 5-5 in the tie-break, before Medvedev grabbed the final two points to claim the set and force a tie break after nearly two hours. As in the second set, the two kept up a good level in the last set to level the score at 4-4.
‘Ferru’ comments on Djokovic
Former World No. 3 David Ferrer has stated that he found Novak Djokovic the toughest competitor of his career. “This depends on the characteristics of each player. I never beat Federer, but for me the feeling was that when Djokovic was good he was the one who made me feel most uncomfortable, because he couldn’t hurt him with any of my punches,” Ferrer said.
“And from the way I played, I had the feeling that when he was fine he couldn’t even beat him in one game,” he added.