Daniil Medvedev made a successful start to his Nitto ATP Finals title defence on Sunday afternoon with a 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-4 victory against Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz, moving to 1-0 in Red Group action.
The Russian, who earned his fourth ATP Masters 1000 title in Toronto and his maiden major at the US Open, showed his confidence by staying calm after losing the first set. The World No. 2 battled back behind impressive serving and steady baseline play to triumph after two hours and one minute.
“I had zero break points to save, so in a way I was never under pressure,” Medvedev said in his on-court interview. “I had only two games on Hubert’s serve where I had break points. Super happy to make this work and [that I] managed to get both breaks.”
Medvedev has won 23 of his past 26 matches, with 19 of his triumphs during that stretch coming in straight sets. After going 0-3 on his debut at the season finale two years ago, he has now claimed six consecutive victories at the Nitto ATP Finals.
Tournament debutant Hurkacz competed well in his first match at the event, showing great hands at net and no fear of moving into the forecourt. But he never found a way to challenge his opponent’s serve, and that proved costly.
Hurkacz played a tremendous tie-break to move ahead, and there was no doubt this year’s Miami Open presented by Itau champion could handle the moment, having beaten Medvedev at Wimbledon earlier this year. But Medvedev buckled down in longer rallies and consistently made the extra ball.
After winning the second set and hitting a smash to break early in the third set, Medvedev won perhaps the point of the match and waved his arms to get the Turin crowd involved. On the 29th shot of the rally — in which he played dogged defence — Medvedev hit a stunning backhand passing shot.
“I remember this point because that’s the only point in the match where I could actually interact with the crowd a little bit,” Medvedev said. “Other than that, it was aces, winners and unforced errors.”
Medvedev did not face a break point in the match and won 83 per cent of his first-serve points. The World No. 2 hit 15 aces and in his service games rarely gave Hurkacz an opportunity to step into the court.
The other two players in the Red Group are Alexander Zverev and Matteo Berrettini, who will play not before 9 p.m. in Italy on Sunday evening.
Did You Know?
Medvedev (55-12) is now tied for the most tour-level wins this season, joining Stefanos Tsitsipas (55-18) and Zverev (55-14).