Medvedev ends Djokovic’s 20-match win streak
Daniil Medvedev ended Novak Djokovic’s 20-match winning streak by beating the world’s best player 6-4, 6-4 on Friday to reach the final of the Dubai Championship.
Medvedev, who came in third, will face defending champion Andrei Rublev in an all-Russian final that could be politically charged after Rublev repeated his call for peace.
Medvedev, a former world No. 1, won trophies in Rotterdam and Doha before coming to Dubai and beating Djokovic to extend his winning streak to 13 matches, the second most of his career.
Djokovic competed in his first competition since winning the Australian Open and won a record 22nd Grand Slam singles title. He hasn’t lost since November, when he lost the Paris Masters final to Holger Rune.
On Friday, Medvedev broke Djokovic twice in the first set and re-opened the second, eventually closing it out on his first match point.
“When you play against Novak, you just have to play your best, as if hoping that he will not play at full strength,” Medvedev said. “I managed to play today at a higher level than he did. In the second set, I did not have a single break point, but there were so many 30-30, deuce. [games]. I managed to keep my composure.”
Medvedev has not beaten Djokovic since the 2021 US Open final, when he won his first and so far only major title. The victory denied Djokovic his first Grand Slam in men’s singles since 1969.
Djokovic then won the next four meetings.
But Medvedev improved to 5-3 against Djokovic when the Serbian took first place.
Earlier, Rublev took the lead by beating Alexander Zverev 6-3, 7-6(9) in the other semi-final. It took Rublev six match points to finally defeat Zverev in his first tour level victory over a German player.
Rublev has lost all five previous matches to his longtime friend, who reached his first semi-final since the French Open in June.
Rublev, who finished in sixth place, kept a set point in the second set tie-break.
“Today, when I went out on the court, I thought that I had nothing to lose. He always beat me, so why should I be tight,” said Rublev.
Last year, Rublev won the title from Jiri Vesela.
Rublev has beaten Medvedev in his last two encounters, including at the ATP final in November. That match was more remembered for Rublev’s call for peace. He wrote “Peace, peace, peace, whatever we need” on a television camera lens. He made a similar call shortly after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine just over a year ago.
On Friday, Rublev renewed this message.
“It’s crazy that so many ordinary normal citizens are suffering, dying,” he told reporters. “The only thing I hope is that peace will come to all countries soon. No matter where”.
Rublev paid tribute to the memory of the late Soviet rock star Viktor Tsoi by writing “Tsoi is alive” on a television camera near the court. According to Rublev, Tsoi’s lyrics “gave people a lot of hope” in the 1980s.