The Dubai Open Championships 2023 was a highly anticipated tournament, with some of the best tennis players in the world vying for the title. In the final match, world No.1 Novak Djokovic faced off against world No.2 Daniil Medvedev, in what was expected to be a thrilling contest in the semi-final.
Medvedev vs. Djokovic
This was the 9th meeting between Medvedev and Djokovic, with Djokovic leading the head to head 5-3 before the match. With Djokovic's incredible form in recent months, many predicted that he would extend his winning streak and lift the trophy. However, Medvedev had different plans.
Medvedev's Dominance in the First Set
Medvedev started the match on a high, dominating Djokovic in the first set. He won the first three games in a row, breaking Djokovic's serve twice. Djokovic struggled to find his rhythm, as Medvedev continued to hit winners and make fewer unforced errors. Medvedev won the first set 6-3, sending a message to Djokovic that he was not going to back down.
Djokovic's Fightback in the Second Set
Djokovic, however, is known for his fighting spirit, and he showed that in the second set. He changed his tactics, taking the ball earlier and trying to hit more winners. The change in tactics paid off, as he broke Medvedev's serve in the third game of the set. Djokovic kept the pressure on, hitting more winners and making fewer unforced errors. He won the second set 6-4, levelling the match at one set all.
The Deciding Set: A Thrilling Battle
The deciding set was a tense and thrilling battle between two of the best players in the world. Medvedev started the set strong, breaking Djokovic's serve in the second game. However, Djokovic fought back, breaking Medvedev's serve in the next game. The set went back and forth, with both players hitting winners and playing some incredible tennis. At 5-5, Medvedev broke Djokovic's serve again, giving himself a chance to serve for the match. He did not disappoint, holding his nerve and winning the match 6-3, 4-6, 7-5.
Medvedev was understandably emotional after winning the match, as he had just beaten the world No.1 and ended his winning streak. He thanked his team and the fans.
Dubai Championship 2023 Finals: Recap
On Saturday, Daniil Medvedev won the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, making it a hat-trick for him in the ATP Tour. He beat Andrey Rublev 6-2, 6-2 in a 68-minute clash. This was Medvedev's third consecutive title, following victories in Rotterdam and Doha in February. He is now the third player to win three titles in as many weeks since 2021, joining Casper Ruud (July 2021) and Felix Auger-Aliassime (October 2022).
Medvedev has been in top form on hard courts and his 19th win of the season has lifted him to No. 6 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings, moving above Rublev, who is now at No. 7. The 27-year-old also improved his ATP Head2Head series against Rublev to 5-2.
The Road Dubai Championship ATP Final
Medvedev's path to the final was impressive, as he defeated some tough opponents on his way. In the quarterfinals, he beat Karen Khachanov in straight sets, and then in the semifinals, he defeated Alexander Zverev in a grueling three-set match. On the other hand, Djokovic had a relatively easier route to the final, as he beat Stefanos Tsitsipas and Novak in the quarterfinals and semifinals respectively.
Medvedev was thrilled with his performance, saying, "It is amazing because at the start of the year, it was not perfect. In tennis when you don't win matches you have doubts. Now it just feels better. I was really happy with these three weeks and I am looking forward to the next ones." He will now compete in the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, where he will aim to continue his winning run.
Medvedev played tactically against Rublev, who is known to cause trouble for everyone on the Tour. Medvedev was deep behind the baseline and committed only two unforced errors in the first set, frustrating Rublev's aggressive hitting. Medvedev continued to balance his defence and attack, using his precise crosscourt forehand to turn the tables in the baseline exchanges. He broke Rublev twice in the second set to seal his victory.
Medvedev's strong performance has earned him his 18th tour-level title and he is now only six victories away from equaling his career-best winning streak on the ATP Tour, having earned 20 consecutive victories from November 2020 to January 2021.
Rublev, who was the 2022 champion, was hoping to become the third repeat at the ATP 500 event in Dubai, alongside Djokovic and Federer. However, he was unable to overcome Medvedev's consistent performance.
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