MATCH POINT: Medvedev tops Ruud in the semis


He played in the final of the first significant tournament of 2021, and he'll play in the final of the last one, too.

Daniil Medvedev's run to the Australian Open final signaled that the 25-year-old Russian was going to be a force this season. While he would lose that contest in straight sets to Novak Djokovic (to fall to 0-2 in Grand Slam finals), the result indeed foreshadowed future weeks of excellence. Medvedev would go on to win four titles in 2021, including the US Open—where he would earn revenge over Djokovic with his own straight-sets win—and finish No. 2 in the tour rankings. He entered this week's ATP Finals with a 54-12 record, and won all three of his round-robin contests (each in three sets).

On Sunday, he'll have the chance to cap it all off with his second consecutive year-end championship, after defeating first-time qualifier Casper Ruud in Saturday's semifinals, 6-4, 6-2. Medvedev's 58th win is a tour-leading stat.

Medvedev's 58th win is a tour-leading stat.

Medvedev's 58th win is a tour-leading stat.

And he could have another opportunity to face Djokovic, should the Serb overcome Alexander Zverev—who have their own compelling rivalry. Djokovic is 7-3 against Zverev and 6-4 against Medvedev. Against Zverev, Medvedev is 6-5.

No matter what happens, we're in store for a fascinating final to close out the ATP season. And no matter what happens this afternoon, Medvedev will be waiting.