Stefanos Tsitsipas defeated Daniil Medvedev 6-3 6-7(11) 7-6(1) during their ATP Finals match on Wednesday to keep himself alive in the group stage while eliminating Medvedev from contending for a semi-final spot. With his victory, Tsitsipas also made Novak Djokovic the winner of the Red Group while the Greek star will now face Andrey Rublev on Friday with the second semi-final spot on the line.
Medvedev and Tsitsipas were playing for redemption in Turin after losing their opening group matches on Monday, and both men were at risk of being eliminated from semi-final contention entirely depending on the result of their 11th career meeting. The Russian led their head-to-head by seven wins to three losses but the second seed had won their most recent meeting in Cincinnati, setting the stage for a dramatic showdown.
It was the Greek player who started strong, breaking Medvedev during the world No 5’s opening service game to take a 3-0 lead. And the early break proved crucial as both men continued to trade service holds without even getting to another deuce game before Tsitsipas took the first set 6-3 in 33 minutes.
The pair continued their routine service holds until the second set reached a tiebreak with both men seeing almost identical serving stats as Medvedev raised his level after losing the opener. And it was the fourth seed who earned the first mini-break when Tsitsipas just failed to get the ball over the net in an unlucky net cord but Medvedev blew his lead after sending a forehand long to get the second seed back level at 4-4 before making another error to hand Tsitsipas an advantage, looking over at his box bemused.
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It was the 24-year-old’s turn to send the ball out to give away another mini-break and he was unable to capitalise on three match points as Medvedev saved the third after an incredible rally, getting the crowd on their feel before stealing the second set 7-6(11) to keep himself alive in what was the third-longest tiebreak in ATP Finals history.
There were more routine holds to start the final set until Tsitsipas hit two errors in a row to get broken and go 3-4 down. He was able to carve out a break-back point in the very next game but the Russian sent an ace down the court to stay alive and put himself within one game of the match at 5-3 after being on the brink of elimination in the tiebreak. While serving for the match at 5-4, Medvedev suddenly hit two double-faults followed by a series of errors to get broken before the match went to a final set tiebreak.
Tsitsipas received an immediate mini-break as Medvedev sent the ball wide, and the world No 5 failed to get a drop shot over the net to give the 24-year-old a 3-0 lead. The second seed suddenly found himself with six more match points exactly 57 minutes after earning his first as the errors kept coming from Medvedev, but the Russian saved it again. With his fifth match point on his own serve, Tsitsipas finally served out a three-set victory in two hours and 21 minutes to put himself within one win of the semi-final.
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