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

Daniil Medvedev claimed his 250th ATP victory in Los Cabos on Wednesday night. World no. 1 clinched the milestone victory against the Aussie qualifier Rinky Hijikata, hoping for more in the rest of the week. Asked about his favorite wins, Daniil mentioned the 2021 US Open final success against Novak Djokovic that brought him the first Major crown. Also, the Russian did not forget about his 2020 ATP Finals triumph over Rafael Nadal after fending off a match point. In fact, Rafa did not have a match point in that one, leading 6-3, 5-4 and serving for the victory before Daniil started to climb back. The Russian scored a 3-6, 7-6, 6-3 win in two hours and 36 minutes and advanced into the title clash against Dominic Thiem. Instead of sealing the deal, Rafa got broken in that second set’s tenth game, lost the tie break and allowed Daniil to rattle off four straight games in the decider to emerge at the top. Daniil fired 42 winners and 29 unforced errors, leaving Rafa on a 22-30 ratio.

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

The Russian forged the advantage in the most advanced rallies and saved his best tennis for the last four games to remain on the title course. Nadal held at 30 at the beginning of the encounter after forcing Medvedev’s backhand error. He had to dig deep in the third game before fending off three break chances. Daniil secured the fourth game with a service winner and locked the result for the third time in game six. Medvedev lost ground at 3-4 and sprayed a forehand error to suffer a break at love, allowing Rafa to take the set 6-3 on his 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 and secured a break in game two after the Spaniard’s double fault.

Medvedev landed an ace to forge a 4-1 advantage and created a break chance in the next one that could have sent him further ahead. Nadal saved it and pulled the break back with a forehand winner in the next one to reduce the deficit. Rafa held at 15 and delivered another break in game nine to rattle off four straight games and serve for the victory at 5-4. Instead of bringing the encounter home in an hour and a half, the Spaniard suffered a costly break at love to keep Medvedev in contention. The Russian gained a boost and secured a tie break 7-4 to force a decider. A smash winner clinched a break for Daniil at 3-3 to give him momentum. He cemented the advantage with a solid forehand attack a few minutes later and produced his second break at 5-3 to end Nadal’s resistance and seal the deal.