Daniil Medvedev became the first singles player to qualify for this year’s semifinals in Turin with his victory Wednesday against Alexander Zverev. The third seed has won all four sets he has played so far at the Nitto ATP Finals, and is eager to build on that success when he faces Carlos Alcaraz on Friday.
“I’m going to do everything I can against Carlos,” Medvedev said, acknowledging the fact that his advancement to the knockout rounds is already sealed. “The moment you relax and say to yourself, ‘Maybe in this match I can make it easier,’ you can lose all your rhythm. “That’s tennis.”
Medvedev saw firsthand the value of maintaining winning momentum in his Turin meeting with Novak Djokovic last year. The Serbian was 2-0 entering that matchup and had already reached the semifinals. But Djokovic didn’t give an inch in a three-set battle, eventually winning a tie-break in the final set before claiming his sixth Nitto ATP Finals crown, tying Roger Federer’s record, two matches later.
“It was physically a very tough match,” Medvedev said. “He could have said at some point: ‘Whatever, I lose the match, I’m still in first place.’ But he did not. I think it’s a great example for me to try to do my best on Friday and try to win.”
While the result will not affect Medvedev’s advancement to the semi-finals, it will be crucial to the fate of both Alcaraz and Zverev. Both players enter the final round of the group with a 1-1 record, and Zverev will face Andrey Rublev to close out his group campaign.
“On Friday I’ll be the number one Daniil Medvedev fan on the planet for a change,” Zverev said with a smile, after a fifth loss in six Lexus ATP Head2Head meetings against Medvedev this season.
When asked about Zverev’s comments, Medvedev understood his rival’s sentiment.
“That is normal. He wants to rank,” she said. “Surely, if I beat Carlos, it will be the best for him. So it’s normal. I would do the same. He will surely watch the game. If I fail, he’ll say, ‘No, why did he fail?’ The same if I win points.”
So what will it take to ensure the result that both he and Zverev crave?
“I think that against [Alcaraz], especially the way he played today, you have to do your best,” Medvedev said, echoing comments he made before beating the Spaniard in the US Open semifinals. “You have to serve well. Here [en la cancha rápida] there’s a chance… You can hit aces against him like Sascha did. So I need to play fast. I need to hit winners before he does.”
“He was playing pretty well today. It’s going to be a good continuation of a test. I beat two good opponents and I have another one in two days. “I’m going to try to do my best.”
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