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Nitto ATP Finals: Sinner Sinks Medvedev

Nov 20th 2023

Sinner sinks Medvedev 6-3, 6-7, 6-1 to reach maiden Nitto ATP Finals title match

For both it has been a tremendous season and one of firsts. Daniil Medvedev, the twenty-seven year old former world #1, claimed his first career title on the dirt in Rome (d. Rune), a Masters 1000 and won a second at that level in Miami. The 66 Russian started the season on a tear winning four titles, three consecutively (Rotterdam, Doha, Dubai & Miami) and conquered Sinner in two – Rotterdam in three and Miami in straights.

Jannik Sinner, the twenty-two year old Italian with new coach Darren Cahill, reached several milestones this season. He won his first Masters 1000 title this past summer in Canada (d. de Minaur) and defeated Medvedev twice last month in tightly contested and consecutive ATP 500 finals (Beijing & Vienna) while reaching a career high rank of #4.

Sinner playing in his first Nitto ATP Finals in Turin, won the Green Group 3-0 to the delight of the home crowd. In round robin play he dispatched world #6 Stefanos Tsitsipas, world #1 and six-time ATP Finals champion, Novak Djokovic and NextGen phenom and world #8, Holger Rune.

While Medvedev led the head to head 6-2, he entered the semis having lost his last two versus the Italian and his last round robin match to world #2 Carlos Alcaraz. The 2020 ATP Finals champion had to battle not only a sizzling-hot Sinner, but a partisan crowd for a spot in the final.  

 (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni) 

Medvedev won the toss and elected to receive. Sinner gifted two unforced errors but with two winners including an ace, held to 30. The Russian opened with a fantastic crosscourt forehand winner and despite two unforced errors, held to 30 to level.

Sinner with a newly retooled serve and tactics, employed the serve & volley but from 40-0 up faced three deuce and break point yet held with his second ace and a sublime forehand drop volley. Medvedev ruing his missed opportunity, missed 5/8 first serves including a double fault and dumped serve following three forehand errors.

Sinner opened the fourth with a double fault and faced deuce but consolidated the break for 4-1 with this third ace and a netted volley from his opponent. Medvedev continued to dominate the longer rallies and held easily to 15 for 2-4 with his first ace and a blistering backhand down the line.

Sinner with the partisan crowd singing and chanting his name, opened the seventh with an ace up the tee and though he would miss 4/5 first serves, held to 30 with an outstanding lob winner.

The Russian serving to stay in the set and with new balls, struck his second ace and held to 15 for 3-5 while the world #4 reached double set point with a forehand swing volley and secured it with a monster serve up the tee.

Medvedev served first in the second and opened and closed with aces for 1-0 while Sinner struck his fifth ace to level. The former world #1 and 2020 ATP Finals champ struck four consecutive winners including two aces for his first love hold.

Sinner donated his second double fault and faced deuce but with and ace up the tee, held for 2-2. Medvedev opened the fifth with an incredible crosscourt forehand and with two additional winners including another ace, held for 3-2 while Sinner missed 2/4 first serves yet held at love for the first time to level.

The Russian struck two additional winners including his eight ace and held easily to 15 while the Italian serving with new balls struggled. He missed 9/12 first serves, faced three deuce and break point yet managed to hold with an ace up the tee and a forehand error from his opponent.

Medvedev opened the nineth with a mishit lob but held for 5-4 with two consecutive well-struck serves while Sinner serving to stay in the set, held easily to 15 with his eighth ace.

With the crowd emboldened and the pressure mounting, Medvedev missed 3/6 first serves but with exceptional depth and defense, held to 30 for 6-5. Sinner once again served to stay in the set and force the breaker and though he missed 4/6 first serves, held to 30 for 6-6.

The Russian played an exemplary tiebreak. He opened with an ace and did not miss a first serve. He led 4-2 then 6-3 following two consecutive colossal serves and clinched the breaker 7-4 after Sinner whiffed a forehand. Following the conclusion of the second set, Medvedev left the court to receive treatment.

Sinner served first in the third and with three forehand winners and his nineth ace, held to 30 while Medvedev seemed to have lost the script. The world #3 could not buy a first serve and  with his second double fault of the match dumped serve. Soon thereafter, he received a code of conduct warning from the chair for throwing his racquet and metaphorically, the match.  

Sinner held to 15 to consolidate the break while Medvedev got on the board with spot serving including his tenth ace. Sinner opened the fifth with a stunning inside-out forehand and with two more winners including his tenth ace, held for 4-1.

Medvedev stepped to the line with the clock ticking and the packed arena applauding. The 2021 US Open champion buckled as he missed 9/14 first serves and faced four deuce and three break points before capitulating.

Sinner served for the match and the finals and did so like a pro; consolidating the break and securing victory with a love hold. It was an exceptional performance from a young man who now believes he can conquer the game’s elite at the biggest events.

While they both finished with ten aces and two double faults, the Italian excelled on second serve points (48/36%) and second serve return points won (64/52%). Clutch on break points, he saved 2/2 while converting 3/7.

It was a hard-hitting, high-quality match with more winners than errors. Sinner finished with one less winner (29/30) and one less error (13/14) and will need that and more on Sunday. He will contest the biggest title of his burgeoning career against either world #1 Novak Djokovic or world #2, Carlos Alcaraz.  

While he leads the Spaniard 4-3 in their head to head, he trails the Serbian and twenty-four time Grand Slam champion, 1-3 but earned that three-set victory just four days ago in round robin play.