ATP

ATP Finals: Tsitsipas eliminates Medvedev after mammoth two tie-break encounter

By Sports Desk November 16, 2022

Stefanos Tsitsipas saw off an impressive Daniil Medvedev comeback bid to keep his ATP Finals last four hopes alive with a 6-3 6-7 (11-13) 7-6 (7-1) win in Turin.

With both men having lost their opening match in their first red group encounters, the two headed into their Wednesday match knowing they needed a victory to stay in the semi-final hunt.

Now, it will be 2019 Finals winner Tsitsipas who remains in the mix after seeing off 2020 champion and former US Open winner Medvedev across a two-hour-and-21-minute encounter, handing Novak Djokovic the group in the process.

The Greek second seed looked to be racing away to an early finish after cruising to the first set, but found himself embroiled in a much closer follow-up.

A bruising second set forced the pair into a lengthy tie-break, which stretched its points out to double figures before Medvedev prevailed.

The two could then not be separated in the third, only for Tsitsipas to dominate the tie-break the second time around and race away to a crucial win that sets up a winner-takes-all clash with Andrey Rublev.

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Tsitsipas – 9/1
Medvedev – 16/2

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Tsitsipas – 47/25
Medvedev – 34/28

BREAK POINTS WON

Tsitsipas – 2/3
Medvedev – 1/1

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    Novak Djokovic has been tipped by Nick Kyrgios to win at least 28 grand slams and become the most successful singles player in tennis history.

    The prediction came after 35-year-old Djokovic reached 22 major triumphs on Sunday by landing the Australian Open title for a 10th time.

    He now holds a share of the men's singles record with Rafael Nadal, but Djokovic made it clear after his latest big-stage success that he feels capable of collecting many more top-tier trophies.

    Kyrgios is ostensibly a rival and was beaten by the Serbian in last year's Wimbledon final, but the Australian has also become one of Djokovic's greatest admirers.

    In the wake of Djokovic beating Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Melbourne Park final, Kyrgios posted on Twitter: "Haha I told you. We created a monster. Well done @DjokerNole [Djokovic].

    "Sat on my couch and enjoyed the entire show. He will get to 28 slams easy."

    Kyrgios was also impressed by Djokovic emerging post-match in a jacket emblazoned with '22', a reminder of when Roger Federer had '15' on his top after winning Wimbledon in 2009 to take the outright lead in the men's grand slam race.

    Federer burst past Pete Sampras, who had previously held the record for the most men's singles majors, but Djokovic and Nadal have since overtaken the Swiss, who retired last September after 20 slam successes.

    The French Open in May and June could see an almighty tussle for the title as 14-time Roland Garros champion Nadal hunts another victory in Paris, while Djokovic bids to dethrone him and go to 23 singles slams, the same number as Serena Williams won.

    Australian Margaret Court won more singles majors than anybody, with 24, but Kyrgios sees Djokovic soon overhauling that number.

    Looking at his sartorial choice, Kyrgios saluted Djokovic's audacity, writing: "The jacket with 22 on it is elite energy, haha I love it…. NEED MORE."

  • Australian Open: 'I don't want to stop here' – Djokovic hungry for more after 22nd major triumph Australian Open: 'I don't want to stop here' – Djokovic hungry for more after 22nd major triumph

    Novak Djokovic "emotionally collapsed" after winning his 10th Australian Open title, before declaring: "I don't want to stop here."

    The irrepressible Djokovic beat Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3 7-6 (7-4) 7-6 (7-5) on Rod Laver Arena to match Rafael Nadal's record tally of 22 men's singles grand slam triumphs.

    Djokovic's victory on Sunday also puts him back at the top of the world rankings, a year after he was unable to defend his title at Melbourne Park after being deported due to his vaccination status.

    The 35-year-old from Serbia was also prevented from playing in the US Open last September because of his refusal to take a coronavirus vaccine, but he has made a dream start to 2023.

    He was crowned champion of Adelaide International 1 before extending his Australian Open winning streak to 28 matches, with his last defeat in the first major of the year coming at the hands of Hyeon Chung in the fourth round back in 2018.

    While in Melbourne this time, Djokovic had to contend with questions about his father, Srdjan, posing with a group of men waving Russian flags that were banned from the grounds during the tournament.

    His father did not attend his son's semi-final win over Tommy Paul or the final, but the legendary Belgrade native was able to embrace mother Dijana after defeating Tsitsipas.

    Djokovic, who was struggling with a hamstring injury in the first week of the tournament, was in floods of tears and dropped to the floor in his box after being mobbed by his team following what he described as "the biggest victory of my life" in his on-court interview.

    He said: "When I went into my box, I just think I emotionally collapsed there and teared up with especially my mother and my brother, when I gave them a hug, because up to that moment I was not allowing myself to be distracted with things off the court or whatever was happening in dealing with an injury. Things happening off the court, as well, that could easily have been a big disturbance to my focus, to my game.

    "It required an enormous mental energy really to stay present, to stay focused, to take things day by day, and really see how far I can go.

    "If I turn back the time two and a half weeks ago, I wasn't really liking my chance in this tournament with the way I felt with my leg. Then it was just a matter of survival of every single match, trying to take it to the next round.

    "The good thing about the grand slam here is that you have a day between the matches, so it allowed me to have more time than normally on some other tournaments to recover, to try to do all the treatments in order to get myself in somewhat of a good state and condition to play and eventually win.

    "From fourth round onwards, I feel the leg was not bothering me as much. I felt my movement was much better. I played some of my best tennis in the Australian Open. The fourth round, quarter-final, semi-finals, just really comfortable on the court, hitting the ball great. I knew that against Stefanos, it's going to be different match than what I had throughout the entire tournament."

    Djokovic added: "It was a huge relief and release of the emotions in the end. Just difficult to find any additional words really. It's been a long journey, but a very special one."

    He will head to the French Open in May eyeing major number 23 and is eager to better the great Margaret Court's haul of 24.

    "Of course I am motivated to win as many slams as possible," Djokovic said. "At this stage of my career, these trophies are the biggest motivational factor of why I still compete. That's the case without a doubt.

    "I never really liked comparing myself to others, but of course it's a privilege to be part of the discussion as one of the greatest players of all time. If people see me this way, of course it's very flattering because I know that I give as much effort and energy into trying to win slams as anybody else.

    "I still have lots of motivation. Let's see how far it takes me. I really don't want to stop here. I don't have intention to stop here. I feel great about my tennis. I know that when I'm feeling good physically, mentally present, I have a chance to win any slam against anybody.

    "I like my chances going forward. But, again, nothing is given or nothing is for granted. Of course, I have awareness there's a lot of players that want this trophy or want the number one position in the world.

    "I don't know how many more years I'm going to play or how many more slams I'm going to play. It depends on various things. It doesn't depend only on my body.

    "It's extremely important for me to have the support and love from the close ones, and ability to go and play and keep the balance with the private life, but at the same time have the mental clarity or aspirations to really strive to chase these trophies.

    "Physically I can keep myself fit. Of course, 35 is not 25, even though I want to believe it is. But I still feel there is time ahead of me. Let's see how far I go."

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    Serbian great Djokovic moved level with Rafael Nadal on 22 grand slam titles, a record for male players, by defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3 7-6 (7-4) 7-6 (7-5) on Rod Laver Arena in Sunday's final.

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    The 35-year-old moved back to the top of the rankings with his latest major triumph and Ivanisevic, his coach, felt it was impressive that he was able to play, let alone win the title. 

    "Let me put it like this. I don't say 100 per cent, but 97 per cent of the players, on Saturday when you get results of the MRI, you go straight to the referee's office and pull out of the tournament," the Croatian said. 

    "But not him. He is from other space. His brain is working different. I [have been] with him [for] four years, but it still sometimes [amazes me] how his brain works.

    "He gave everything, 77 therapies a day. Every day was kind of better and better. I didn't expect this. Honestly, I was shocked. First two rounds [were] okay, but then against [Grigor] Dimitrov [I] was very scared.

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    Djokovic also became the third-oldest player in the Open Era to win the Australian Open, younger only than Ken Rosewall (in 1972 and 1971) and Roger Federer (2018).

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    "Definitely two, three more years. The way he's taking care of his body, the way he approaches everything, the food, it's amazing. It's unbelievable the level," he said.

    "We are talking about young guys. They're here, it's great for tennis, great for the future of tennis.

    "But you still have these two guys [Djokovic and Nadal] battling. This was Novak's home court, and now we are going to Rafa's home court [the French Open] in this handball match of 22-22.

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