Medvedev conserves energy with quick victory over Schwartzman

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Daniil Medvedev gets off the court quickly by completing his undefeated run through round-robin play with a straight-set rout of Diego Schwartzman on Friday night.

Nitto ATP Finals, Group Tokyo 1970

Medvedev d. Schwartzman 6-3, 6-3

  • Key info: Medvedev compiled a 3-0 record in round-robin competition after going 0-3 last year.
  • You will also learn: Medvedev’s upcoming semi-final vs. Rafael Nadal is a rematch of two 2019 thrillers.
  • Why you should read this story: It was en entertaining and unusually aggressive performance by the Russian.

Win or lose, Daniil Medvedev surely wanted to get off the court quickly on Friday night. After all, he had already clinched the Group Tokyo 1970 win at the Nitto ATP Finals and was assured of a Saturday semi-final against Rafael Nadal. Medvedev clearly decided he would rather win in a hurry than lose in a hurry, as he erased Diego Schwartzman in one hour and 13 minutes.

“I was playing great the two previous matches,” the world No 4 said of his wins over Alexander Zverev and Novak Djokovic. “I think it’s good to stay undefeated for the confidence. I wanted to win the match.”

Medvedev playing to win

Medvedev had three break-point opportunities in his first return game but could not convert. However, he did achieve the breakthrough when Schwartzman served at 1-1. With a break in hand and having already qualified for the semi-finals, the Russian was content to conserve energy throughout his next two return games. That appeared to be the case with the Argentine serving at 3-5, 30-0, as well, but from out of nowhere Medvedev decided to dig in and finish the set with a break. He came up with some brilliant forehand returns to cap off the opening frame of play with an impressive exclamation point.

Sprint to the finish

With a semi-final match looming on Saturday, there was little doubt that Medvedev would make this a straight-set match. If he had lost the opener, who knows what kind of effort he would have put forth in the second? But with a set in hand, the world No 4 was off to the races in the second. The break came at 1-1, when he scorched a blistering cross-court backhand to convert. Schwartzman actually got a look at two break-back chances shortly thereafter, but Medvedev erased them with big serving. Continuing to play ultra-aggressive tennis as opposed to his normal counter-punching style, the 24-year-old surged to the finish line with ease.

Now the stage is set for another Medvedev vs. Nadal showdown. The Spaniard won an epic 2019 US Open final in five sets and also came back from 5-1 down in the third set to stun the Russian at last season’s year-end championship. Still, Medvedev says he enjoys playing the Big 3 — Nadal, Djokovic, and Roger Federer.

“I like playing all of the three,” he assured. “When I was so young starting to hold the racket, watching tennis when I was four or five years old, first it was Roger winning everything and then Rafa came and then it was Novak. It’s a great pleasure to play against all of them.”

The other semi-final pits Novak Djokovic against Dominic Thiem, as every one of the top four seeds has advanced.

Group Tokyo 1970 standings

Player | Record | Sets | Games 

Medvedev | 3-0 | 6-0 | 36-19 (qualified for semis as group winner)
Djokovic | 2-1 | 4-2 | 31-26 (qualified for semis as group runner-up)
Zverev | 1-2 | 2-5 | 32-37 (eliminated)
Schwartzman | 0-3 | 1-6 | 23-40 (eliminated)

Nitto ATP Finals competition format

  • Each players plays every other player in their group once.
  • The top player in Group Tokyo 1970 will play the runner-up from Group London 2020 in the semi-final, and vice versa.
  • The standings in the table are decided first by greatest number of wins.
  • Then it takes into account the greatest number of matches played (a 2-1 win-loss record beats a 2-0 win-loss record).
  • After that it comes down to head-to-head results if two players are tied.
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