Daniil Medvedev at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.
PHOTO BY JONATHAN YBERA/EXPAT MEDIA
Novak Djokovic bowed out of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Friday (March 3) after a two-set loss to Daniil Medvedev.
Medvedev remains on-track to seal a third consecutive ATP Tour title after eclipsing World No.1 Djokovic 6-4, 6-4 in the semi-finals.
Medvedev made the most of a surprisingly out-of-sorts display by the 22-time Grand Slam winner to reach his first Dubai final, where he will face Andrey Rublev.
Djokovic, the tournament’s top seed, was forced to end his chase of a seventh final in Dubai after a stunning playoff with Medvedev.
Medvedev capitalised on a string of uncharacteristic Djokovic mistakes in the middle of the set to break the World No.1 twice in quick succession. And while Djokovic broke back in game eight, and held serve in game nine, the 27-year-old Medvedev served out to seal the opening set 6-4 in 39 minutes.
After gifting Medvedev 16 points through unforced errors in the first set, Djokovic was unable to turn the tide at the start of the second set with Medvedev, the World No.7, immediately breaking the five-time Dubai winner to maintain his momentum.
As mistakes continued to plague the 35-year-old Serbian’s comeback attempt, Djokovic, who desperately changed his racket in an attempt to curtail the litany of errors, cut a frustrated figure as the relentless stream of overhit groundstrokes and under-hit dropshots left Medvedev in a position to serve out the match at 5-3. The big-serving third seed, now on a 13-match winning streak going into the final, duly obliged.
“When you play against Novak you have to play your best and hope he doesn’t play his best,” Medvedev said, “When he plays his best, with 22 Grand Slam wins, you can play your best and not win, so I’m happy I managed to play a higher level than him today. I didn’t face a breakpoint in the second set, but there were so many 30-all and deuce-games, and I am really happy to be in the final tomorrow. I am playing good right now. I need to be at my best tomorrow. [Rublev] beat me the last two games – both tough battles – so I am looking forward to the final.” ICA/Expat Media
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