Nepal | November 26, 2020

Djokovic and Nadal fall as Thiem and Medvedev advance to London finale

Reuters
Share Now:

LONDON: Rafa Nadal’s dream of a first ATP Finals title and Novak Djokovic’s quest for a record-equalling sixth vanished in defeats by Daniil Medvedev and Dominic Thiem in two seismic semi-finals on Saturday.

As the curtain comes down on London’s 12 years as host of the ATP Tour’s prestigious season-ender, it would have been fitting for Nadal and Djokovic to face off for the 57th time in their glittering careers.

But times are a changing, or so it seems, and Medvedev and Thiem had not read the script.

Nadal, seeking the one major pot missing from his vast collection of silverware, must have seen the door creaking open when Thiem produced a staggering fightback to beat Djokovic 7-5 6-7(10) 7-6(5) in a classic contest lasting almost three hours.

He had beaten Medvedev in each of their three meetings, including a memorable U.S. Open final last year.

It seemed like he had exhausted the wily Russian’s box of tricks when he served for the match at 5-4 in the second set but Medvedev, 10 years his junior at 24, stormed back to win 3-6 7-6(4) 6-3.

Whatever happens on Sunday it will mean a fifth consecutive first-time winner of the tournament.

“At 5-4 in the second set I decided to change some small things and start going for things a little more. I had to change and it worked really well,” said Medvedev, who was 100% in group play, including a win over Djokovic.

To put world number four Medvedev’s win into perspective, Nadal had triumphed in the last 71 matches in which he had taken the first set.

“I played a bad game at 5-4, I had a big opportunity, but well played to him,” Nadal said.

Medvedev looked the more likely winner as he raced through his service games in the opening set while Nadal laboured.

But the Spaniard pounced as Medvedev suffered a momentary dip at 3-4 and suddenly he was a set to the good.

Undeterred, Medvedev kept hammering away and Nadal dipped at the start of the second set, dropping serve with a double fault. Medvedev squandered a point for a 5-1 lead and paid the price as Nadal hurtled back to stand on the brink of victory.

FLUKEY FOREHAND

Medvedev broke to love, though, and the set moved into a tiebreaker. A flukey forehand winner helped Medvedev into a 5-3 lead and he stayed composed to take it.

Nadal slowed under the relentless barrage in the third, but it was still a surprise to see him fade at the end, losing the last three games as Medvedev romped home.

Earlier in the empty arena, the 27-year-old Thiem saw four match points vanish in the second set tiebreak against Djokovic, one with a nervy double-fault, and it seemed he would pay a heavy price.

Djokovic, who is one short of Roger Federer’s titles record at the ATP Finals, led 4-0 in the deciding set tiebreak.

But U.S. Open champion Thiem unleashed a stunning counter-attack to reel off six points, reaching match point with a ripping crosscourt backhand.

Djokovic saved a fifth match point but then floated a defensive forehand long.

“What he did from 0-4 in the tiebreak was unreal,” Djokovic, who won the title in London from 2012-15, told reporters. “He just crashed the ball and everything went in. What can you do?”

Thiem, who racked up his 300th career Tour win, is now established as a major force and will attempt to go one better than last year when he lost to Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final.

“From 0-4 in the third-set tiebreak I went for every single shot and every single shot went in. It was amazing,” he said.


Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

Real leave Inter close to exit after Vidal sees red

MILAN: Real Madrid claimed a first-ever win at San Siro on Wednesday, beating Inter 2-0 in the Champions League after the Serie A side had midfielder Arturo Vidal sent off for dissent in the first half. Eden Hazard converted a seventh-minute penalty and Achraf Hakimi deflected Rodrygo's Read More...

MoFAGA

New procedure for self-evaluation issued

KATHMANDU, NOVEMBER 25 The Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration has issued the ‘Local Level Institutional Capacity Self-evaluation Procedure-2020’ to identify strengths and weaknesses of local bodies by assessing their work procedures and achievements for the purpose of maki Read More...

Act now to address shadow pandemic of VAW, says WHO

KATHMANDU, NOVEMBER 25 Urgent action is needed across the WHO South-East Asia Region to strengthen efforts to protect women and girls from violence and to support their health needs amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, said the World Health Organisation Regional Office for South-East Asia today. Read More...

Be sensitive towards protecting rights of violence survivors: PM

KATHMANDU, NOVEMBER 25 Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli stated that the government would not tolerate any sort of gender-based discrimination and violence. In a message released on the occasion of 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence, PM Oli reaffirmed the government’s efforts to op Read More...

Foden strike sends City into Champions League knockouts

ATHENS: Manchester City midfielder Phil Foden finished off a brilliant team move as his side saw off Olympiakos Piraeus 1-0 away from home on Wednesday to book their place in the Champions League's last 16. After dominating possession with little reward, City found a breakthrough in Read More...

Ensure right to life: NHRC

KATHMANDU, NOVEMBER 25 The National Human Rights Commission has drawn the government’s attention to the need to protect people’s right to life. The human rights watchdog’s statement comes in the wake of recent protest in Bardibas of Mahottari, where police firing claimed the life of Budd Read More...

Indian foreign secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla to arrive today

KATHMANDU: Foreign Secretary of India Harsh Vardhan Shringla will land in Nepal today for a two-day official visit. Shringla's visit follows a series of Indian high-level visits to Nepal made in an attempt to better the once very strained relations between the two countries following the May-bord Read More...

End to gender-based violence sought

KATHMANDU, NOVEMBER 25 The Federation of Community Forestry Users Nepal, a formal network of forest user groups from all over the country, has called for collaboration to end gender-based violence. At a programme organised by FECOFUN here today on the occasion of 16 Days of Activism against Ge Read More...