‘Had I beaten Novak Djokovic in Melbourne, I would have been..’ says Medvedev

Daniil Medvedev claimed the fourth Masters 1000 title on Sunday, beating Reilly Opelka in straight sets to conquer Toronto. Thus, the Russian reduced the deficit to Novak Djokovic, with an even bigger chance to close the gap this week in Cincinnati and challenge the Serb for the ATP throne in New York. Daniil has already achieved a lot in his young career, and the next logical steps are world no. 1 position and Major titles, something he is prepared and eager to pursue. Medvedev had two chances to become a Major winner so far, losing to Rafael Nadal in that epic 2019 US Open final and against Novak Djokovic in Melbourne this February. Novak beat Daniil 7-5, 6-2, 6-2 in an hour and 53 minutes for his 18th Major title, the ninth Down Under. Novak lost serve twice and delivered seven breaks from 11 chances, staying focused and taming his rival’s strokes nicely to control the rallies and write the record books.

In game two, the Serb forced Medvedev’s backhand error to grab an early break and held at love with a smash at love for a 3-0 advantage in blazing eight minutes. Medvedev broke back at 15 following Djokovic’s loose smash in game five to get back on the positive side and held at love to lock the result at 3-3, looking much better than in the early stages. Bouncing back, Djokovic produced one good hold after another in the rest of the set and grabbed the set 7-5 on his third set chance in game 12. The Serb seized three breaks in set number two thanks to 45% of the return points won, taming Daniil’s serve with mighty efficiency and taking the set 6-2 for another massive step towards the finish line and the title.

Daniil Medvedev lost the second Major final to Novak Djokovic in Melbourne.

They traded breaks in the opening two games, and Novak clinched another at 2-1, stealing Daniil’s serve for the third straight time to remain in the driving seat. In game five, the defending champion held at love with an ace and produced two quick points at deuce in game seven to stay in front. After that game, Medvedev smashed his racquet in anger and got broken in game eight to send Djokovic two sets to love in front in under 80 minutes. Novak survived break chances in the third set’s opening game and grabbed a break in the next one following Medvedev’s volley error. In game three, the Serb cemented the lead with a service winner and held after Daniil’s wild forehand in game five for 4-1. From 15-30, Djokovic earned three straight points in game seven to keep Medvedev away from break opportunities and sealed the deal with another break at 5-2.

“To be honest, taking world no. 1 spot away from Novak Djokovic is not easy; he has won all three Majors this year, and you have to beat him in the final. I played against him at the Australian Open and had I beat him, my situation would have been much better, with 800 points difference. Still, Novak won that one, and that’s the reality. I want to try to play my best tennis and set high goals; if you win two Majors and two Masters 1000 titles within a season, you will become world no. 1. I want to become the world’s best player, and I have to chase big titles to achieve that,” Daniil Medvedev said.