As the clock approached 9:30 p.m. in London on Monday, Daniil Medvedev registered his first win at the Nitto ATP Finals after losing all three of his matches in his event debut a year ago.
In their eighth encounter on the pro tour, Medvedev dismissed fellow US Open finalist Alexander Zverev, 6-3, 6-4, in 89 minutes. The Russian had won their last meeting in the Paris Masters final just eight days earlier, rallying from a set down to take nine of the last 10 games, 5-7, 6-4, 6-1.
“Confidence is the key, for sure. Winning an [ATP] Masters  always helps for the confidence,” Medvedev said in an on-court interview. “I knew that I can play good. It was a little bit shaky from both of us in the beginning from one [point] of view, but from the other [point] of view, I think there were some unbelievable points. To be honest, the intensity of the match was one of the most [intense] I had in my career."
After trading breaks in the first two games, both players—who have been enjoying great success lately—fought off multiple break points early in the first set. In the sixth game, Zverev handed over another break after serving two consecutive double faults, and Medvedev successfully consolidated to go up 5-2. That was enough for him to open a one-set lead, serving it out at love.
Zverev showed signs of life in the second set, going toe-to-toe with Medvedev as both players served without much resistance, until the world No. 4 moved ahead with a break in the seventh game. At 4-3, 30-30, Medvedev won a key point after throwing in an underhand serve, and three games later, reached the finish line.
"When you play a Top 10 opponent [in the] first match of the tournament, you have to be there all the time," Medvedev said. "That is what I managed to do, actually."
For Zverev, his second serve let him down—he won just 21 percent of those points and double-faulted seven times. Medvedev, on the other hand, enjoyed a 57 percent success rate.
Though he began their head-to-head series 0-4, Medvedev has now won three of his last four clashes with Zverev. The German defeated Medvedev in the round-robin stage last year at The O2 Arena.
Zverev, who won this event in 2018, is now 21-4 since the US Open (12-2 since Roland Garros)—having reached the final at Flushing Meadows in September and winning back-to-back titles in Cologne last month.