ATP

Djokovic avenges US Open defeat against Medvedev to clinch Paris Masters title

By Sports Desk November 07, 2021

Novak Djokovic came from a set down to defeat Daniil Medvedev 4-6 6-3 6-3 and win the Paris Masters on Sunday.

Djokovic lost to Medvedev in the US Open final in September, with that defeat ending his hopes of a calendar Grand Slam.

But the Serbian, whose semi-final win over Hubert Hurkacz ensured he will be the year-end world number one for a record seventh time, got his revenge in France.

It marks a fifth title of the year and a sixth triumph at this event for Djokovic, who did not compete in the tournament last year – Medvedev winning it in his place.

The 34-year-old had it far from his own way, with Medvedev instantly going a break up, and although Djokovic hit back to draw level at 2-2, the world number two held off a second break point before nosing himself ahead at 4-3.

Yet having served out the first set at the first time of asking, the US Open champion slipped up in the fourth game of the second as Djokovic reeled off some superb returns, and he did not look back.

With the momentum and crowd on his side, Djokovic broke Medvedev twice in quick succession in the decider, and although he was denied claiming the win on his serve, it merely delayed the inevitable.

Medvedev's powerful serve was not enough, with Djokovic keeping his composure to seal a record-setting 37th Masters 1000 title with a sublime forehand into the corner of the court following a draining rally.

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    Nadal, 35, overcame Matteo Berrettini 6-3 6-2 3-6 6-3 in their semi-final under the Rod Laver Arena roof on Friday.

    After doubts over his career due to a persistent foot injury, Nadal is into a 29th grand slam final and a win away from a 21st major crown, which would break a tie with Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic for the most won by a man.

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    "For me it's something completely unexpected, so I am super happy. Of course everybody knows me, and I'm always going to try my best. Of course my goal now is to win," Nadal told a news conference.

    "As I said, for me, it's a present, just be here and play tennis. I am taking now things a little bit in a different way, of course always with competitive spirit that I have, because I can't go against that. It's my personal DNA.

    "But in some way, I don't know, just be what I am and be able to have the chance to compete at this level, it's a positive energy for me to keep going, because at the end of the day, and being very honest, for me it's much more important to have the chance to play tennis than win the 21. Because that makes me more happy in terms of general life to be able to do the thing that I like to do more than achieving another grand slam.

    "At the end of the day, life, it's about happiness and what makes me happy. It's about just having the chance to do what I like to do."

    Nadal ended his 2021 season in August and, after a four-month absence, returned for an exhibition event in Abu Dhabi last month.

    He claimed his 89th ATP Tour title in Melbourne earlier this month before progressing to the Australian Open final.

    "I feel alive in terms of my tennis life, you know, in terms of my tennis career," Nadal said.

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    "So, yeah, I don't know. Super happy. It's true that I worked hard for a long time every single day in terms of when I was not able to play tennis I was working hard in the gym.

    "I think I'm never going to say I deserve, because a lot of people deserve. But I worked the proper way, and I hold the positive spirit and attitude to have the chance to give myself a chance to be back."

  • Australian Open: Barty's variety to be tested by Collins' aggression in intriguing final Australian Open: Barty's variety to be tested by Collins' aggression in intriguing final

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  • Australian Open: Nadal one win away from record after overcoming Berrettini Australian Open: Nadal one win away from record after overcoming Berrettini

    Rafael Nadal is a win away from a record-breaking 21st grand slam title after getting past Matteo Berrettini to reach the Australian Open final on Friday.

    Nadal overcame the Italian seventh seed 6-3 6-2 3-6 6-3 after two hours, 55 minutes under the Rod Laver Arena roof in their semi-final on a stormy day in Melbourne.

    The Spanish star will face either Daniil Medvedev or Stefanos Tsitsipas in the decider, in which he can break the record for most grand slam titles won by a man.

    Nadal had won his only previous meeting with Berrettini and he targeted the Italian's backhand from the outset, and it worked wonders.

    Berrettini, however, fought hard and forced a fourth set against Nadal, who reached his sixth Australian Open final and 29th major decider, a tally only bettered by Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic (31 each).

    Nadal targeted the Berrettini backhand from the start, and it helped yield a break in the second game.

    Back-to-back unforced errors from that wing, the second pulled wide, from Berrettini handed Nadal a 2-0 lead.

    That break proved to be enough for Nadal in a 43-minute opening set, closed out despite Berrettini briefly threatening in the ninth game.

    Perhaps still recovering from the disappointment of the first set, Berrettini was broken to start the second, three unforced errors – two from a forehand side that had appeared capable of doing damage to Nadal – giving the Spaniard a break point he converted with a forehand winner.

    Berrettini had no answers to Nadal's consistency and relentlessness and even his forehand was beginning to let him down as he fell 3-0 behind in the second set, a deficit he was never going to recover from.

    Nadal was unable to pull away early in the third set and instead it was Berrettini, suddenly sparked to life and looking far more energetic, who struck to break for 5-3.

    A running forehand pass down the line helped set up the break chance and Berrettini delivered a forehand winner before serving it out to love.

    Berrettini went on a run of winning 23 consecutive points on serve, but when that was ended in the eighth game of the fourth set, he found trouble.

    He saved a break point after a 23-shot rally but then netted consecutive forehands to fall 5-3 behind, Nadal closing out his victory to reach the final.

     

    DATA SLAM: Nadal showing no signs of slowing down

    Even at 35, Nadal has reached yet another grand slam final.

    He became the fifth man aged 35 or older to reach a grand slam final in the Open Era, after Federer, Ken Rosewall, Mal Anderson and Andre Agassi.

    The win over Berrettini also saw Nadal beat a top-10 player at the Australian Open for the first time since 2017.

    WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
    Nadal – 28/19
    Berrettini – 38/39

    ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
    Nadal – 5/2
    Berrettini – 14/2

    BREAK POINTS WON
    Nadal – 4/8
    Berrettini – 1/2

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