'Rafael Nadal had a match point, and then I..' says world No. 1

“Rafael Nadal had a match point, and then I…” says the world number 1

Daniil Medvedev celebrated his 250th ATP victory in Los Cabos on Wednesday evening. World No. 1 claimed the milestone win over Australian qualifier Rinky Hijikata and was hoping for more for the rest of the week. When asked about his favorite wins, Daniil mentioned the 2021 US Open final win over Novak Djokovic that earned him his first Major crown.

Also, the Russian didn’t forget his triumph at the 2020 ATP Finals over Rafael Nadal after repelling a match point. In fact, Rafa didn’t have a match point in that game, leading 6-3, 5-4 and serving for the win before Daniil climbed back.

The Russian pulled off a 3-6, 7-6, 6-3 win in two hours and 36 minutes to advance into the title fight against Dominic Thiem. Rather than seal the deal, Rafa was broken in the tenth game of that second set, losing the tie-break and allowing Daniil to win four straight games in the third set to go top.

Daniil fired 42 winners and 29 unforced errors, leaving Rafa on a 22-30 ratio.

Daniil Medvedev scored his only win over Rafael Nadal at the 2020 ATP Finals.

The Russian developed an advantage in the most advanced rallies, saving his best tennis for the last four games to stay on the title course.

Nadal held at 30 early in the encounter after forcing Medvedev’s backhand error. In the third game he had to dig deep into his pockets before he could fend off three break chances. Daniil secured game four with a service winner and secured the result for the third time in game six.

Medvedev lost ground at 3-4 and sprayed a forehand error to suffer a break on serve, allowing Rafa to win the set 6-3 on serve. Daniil was the more aggressive player in set number two, hitting 21 winners and ten unforced errors to open a 4-1 gap.

The younger rival won 12 of the opening 13 points, earning a break in game two after the Spaniard’s double fault. Medvedev landed an ace to give him a 4-1 lead, creating a break chance in the next that could have pushed him further up the field.

Nadal saved it and pulled the break back with a forehand winner in the next to close the gap. Rafa held at 15 and delivered another break in game nine to win four straight games and serve in the win at 5-4.

Rather than bringing the encounter home in an hour and a half, the Spaniard suffered a costly love break to keep Medvedev in contention. The Russian gained a boost and secured a 7-4 tiebreak to force a decision. A smash winner gave Daniil a break at 3-3 to give him momentum.

He cemented the advantage a few minutes later with a solid forehand attack, earning his second break at 5-3 to end Nadal’s resistance and seal the deal.

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