Archives for November 2020

Daniil Medvedev: Dreaming of greatness?

Daniil Medvedev

In the summer, Daniil Medvedev was up end down. He would get frustrated and Irritable. But, the Russian keeps working, developing some new good shots.

Last year was Medevev’s upsurgence. This year, he leveled off until this month.

At the ATP Finals in London, he certainly was more consistent. Even if he was losing, he pushed himself by unloading dominating forehands and backhands. He is 6-foot-6, which can be tough when you have bending down. Over the years, the tallest players were have to overcome their height advantage when they’re motoring around the court. Medvedev, who is fast and creative, mixes a special type of tennis package.

On Sunday, the Russian beat Dominic Thiem 4-6 7-6(2) 6-4 in the Finals final. That was a very hard match, for both players. In the third set, Thiem looked a little bit tired while Medvedev looked healthier and fresher.

Over the past year and a half, the Russian has won theree ATP 1000s: Cincinnati, Shanghai and Paris. Now, add the ATP Finals, what could be considered the fifth major.

The question about 2021 remains: Can he win his first Grand Slam? Possibly, but will he move past winning two-out-of three-set matches and progress to the Slam demands of three out of five.

That has alway been the history. In London, Thiem upset Rafa Nadal and Medvedev took down Novak Djokovic. Nadal has 20 Grand Slams, and Djokovic has 17 majors. Thiem has won one Slam, and Medvedev has zero.

In 2025, Medvedev and Thiem could win, let’s say, another seven Slams. That is very good, but right now, they are only on the cusp of greatness, which is owned by Nadal, Djokovic, Roger Federer, Pete Sampras, Rod Laver and Bjorn Borg. Maybe Medvedev and Thiem have a dream, that they can join the best players of all time. But now, it’s just a dream.

ATP Finals: Rafa Nadal, Novak Djokovic needs to win or else

Dominic Thiem

In the ATP Finals, it is fascinating two 2020 Slam winners – Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic – might lose again and will fail to reach the semis. On Thursday, Djokovic will have to play Alexandra Zverev, who has been up and down. On Friday, Nadal will go to play Stefanos Tsitsipas. While it should be very close, the Greek is on fire. But, can he adapt as the pressure mounts.

On Wednesday in London, Daniil Medvedev was sealed in, and he was belted the ball, slamming his forehands and backhands. He bent down at the net. And he sprinted, while when he was busting.

What was a terrific day of matches. But, not for Djokovic, because he was irritable and disheartening. He made a number of errors, which is unusual. He lost seven games in a row, and that was odd. Every day, you can play awful, but that is not Djokovic, who has won so many titles. But, the Serbian can’t be perfect.

Nadal mostly wins, and he when he is not playing well, still, he keeps trying. As the Spaniard said, you have to stir it up. But, there are times when he is off. A couple days ago, Nadal lost to Dominic Thiem 7-6(7) 7-6(4).

The Austrian starts way back, just like with Nadal, and he hits with heavy twist. He is more patient now, and against Nadal, he was just fine waiting for a chance to take him. He really has improved over the past three years and how he is much better.


Thiem has won two matches, so he will be in the semis on Saturday. During the last few days, he wanted to show that eventually, he can become No. 1. No doubt, he is proving his point.

ATP Finals: It is all about exposure

Stefanos Tsitsipas

Next week at the ATP Finals at London, the top seeds will be the favorites, with Novak Djokovic and Rafa Nadal. Not like the Slams where matches are three out of five sets, the ATP Finals play two out of three.

That is why the Serbian and Spaniard, who have won so many Grand Slams, won’t be the overwhelming favorites. But, at least US Open champion Dominic Thiem will represent the youth movement, having one a Slam. The others can’t claim one. However, in their favor, is the indoor environment and quick courts.

To start, on Monday, Thiem will face Stefanos Tsitsipas, and, at night, Nadal will play Andrey Rublev. On Tuesday, No. 1 Djokovic will be against Diego Schwartzman, and then it will be Daniil Medvedev versus US Open finalist Alexander Zverev

Believe it or not, Nadal has been spotty in London. Going in, he won 16-12. Perhaps his legs are sore at the end of the year, and that is a portion that he just wanted to go home. But, this year he hasn’t played many matches. Plus, he likes to rally, and when the court is quick, he can pound fast.

This is the first time that Andrey Rublev will play the ATP Finals. Over the past couple months, he has risen, smashing the ball and being more rational. But can he attack early and make sure that he won’t push into Nadal’s amazing forehand. He must mix it up and try to sprint into the net. Three years ago, Nadal crushed him at the US Open. But, that is then, and now the years favor the Russian. If Rublev has no fear, then he could push Nadal. He can control what he is doing, and drive Nadal into the wall. The problem is Nadal thinks hard all the time and he can change his tactics. It might go to the third set, but Nadal will win it.
 
Exactly one year ago, Tsitsipas won the event, edging Thiem 7-6(4) in the final. The tall hitter kept on chucking, hustling, and go for the lines anytime he wanted to. After that, Thiem won a Slam and he showed that he was super splendid. The Greek Tsitsipas had a good year, but sometimes he would check out mentally and really fall off. And then he will lose. But, on different days, he is totally into it, staying way back with some good spin, or blitz into the net.

Tsitisipas and Thiem had played seven times: four wins by Thiem, and three by Tsitsipas. They have played each other in 2018 and 2019. But this year, they haven’t played each other, hampered by the COVID-19 break.

Both of them are cagey, and they will twist and vie for position. Thiem and Tsitsipas will get into the third set, and at the end, the Greek will touch the lines. It is all about exposure.