Sunday, 23 February, 2020

ATP Cup: Novak Djokovic beats Daniil Medvedev to put Serbia into final

Djokovic leads Serbia to ATP Cup final - Xinhua | Novak Djokovic puts Serbia into ATP Cup final
Cary Erickson | 12 January, 2020, 15:54

Djokovic took the opening set before word No 5 Medvedev bounced back to take the second.

In the flawless preparation for the season-opening slam, Djokovic's win over Nadal followed victories earlier in the inaugural staging of the $22 million ATP Cup over Kevin Anderson, Gael Monfils, Christian Garin, Denis Shapovalov and 2019 US Open finalist Daniil Medvedev.

Sixteen-time Grand Slam victor Djokovic, who is targeting an eighth Australian Open title this month, had looked on track for a comfortable win against Medvedev after sailing through the opening set and breaking in the first game of the second.

Djokovic said of his match with Medvedev: "Exciting, exhausting, joyful, terrible all at once". My level of energy is a little bit lower than usual because I played long yesterday, very long before yesterday, very long in Brisbane on the last day.

In the doubles, Nikola Cacic and Viktor Troicki completed a 3-0 whitewash for Serbia after they saw off Teymuraz Gabashvili and Konstantin Kravchuk 6-4 7-6 (7).

World number one Nadal ground down pumped-up Australian Alex de Minaur to guide the Davis Cup champions through their semi-final while Djokovic battled past Russia's Daniil Medvedev.

"It's going to be a super tough final against Serbia", said Nadal on the tournament's website.

The irrepressible world number 18 pinched a break back but it was not enough as Nadal avoided losing back-to-back matches for the first time since October 2016.

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On Friday, world No. 1 Rafael Nadal suffered an unexpected singles loss in the semifinals to David Goffin.

Nadal cancelled out the first break point through a jaw-dropping forehand volley, one that graced the line, and then unleashed a world-class 145km backhand victor to claw it back to deuce.

As I'm sure you're aware by now these ties are a best of three affair with two singles rubbers followed by a doubles.

"I had a clear vision of what I wanted to do - and it worked great but then he started figuring it out", said Djokovic.

Second-ranked Djokivic had a 6-2, 7-6 (4) win over top-ranked Nadal on Sunday night, increasing his lead to 29-26 in their career head-to-heads. I think the serve got me out of trouble in the second set when he was 0-40.

"Every time I get to play Rafa we get to play a lot of exciting points". Very physical battle, but also mental battle.

"Definitely one of the most exciting matches I've played against him or any of the top players in the last few years".

Despite showing signs of fatigue, Djokovic lifted his game in the third set against Medvedev to ensure he has one more singles match in Sydney. He withdrew Saturday from the Australian Open tuneup tournament in Adelaide next week.