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Rivalries Of 2022: Medvedev vs. Tsitsipas
This week, ATPTour.com continues its annual season-in-review series, looking back at 2022’s best matches, biggest upsets, most dramatic comebacks and more. In this installment, we look back at Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas' rivalry in 2022. On Thursday we will focus on Rafael Nadal and Taylor Fritz's rivalry.
Daniil Medvedev entered the season with a dominant 6-2 lead in his ATP Head2Head series with Stefanos Tsitsipas. However, the Greek made inroads against the 26-year-old in 2022, narrowing Medvedev’s advantage to 7-4.
Tsitsipas lost their first meeting of the year, but responded emphatically to earn crucial victories in Cincinnati and at the Nitto ATP Finals. ATPTour.com looks back at the three matches the rivals played in 2022.
Australian Open, SF, Medvedev d. Tsitsipas 7-6(5), 4-6, 6-4, 6-1
It took little time for the pair to lock horns in 2022, with Medvedev facing Tsitsipas in the first month of the season at the Australian Open. Having won his first Grand Slam title at the US Open in September 2021, Medvedev entered the semi-final clash against Tsitsipas chasing history, aiming to become the first player to follow his maiden major trophy with his second at the next Grand Slam event.
Meanwhile, Tsitsipas, who was seeking his first major title, came into the match in strong form, having earned wins against Taylor Fritz and Jannik Sinner en route to the last four. The Greek was also aiming to break new ground in Melbourne and reach his first Australian Open final, having fallen at the semi-final stage in 2019 and in 2021 against Medvedev.
In a high-quality clash, the second seed Medvedev successfully targeted the Greek’s backhand from the baseline with his flat and powerful groundstrokes. Medvedev hit 39 winners and ground Tsitsipas down with his consistency to advance after two hours and 30 minutes. With his win, Medvedev improved to 19-1 at hard-court majors since the start of 2021.
“Some matches are very even,” Medvedev said in his on-court interview. “I missed some balls at a few moments where I could have got a break and he missed a few at the start of the third set. Then from 5-4 in the third [set] I just found some momentum and started to read his serve and put every ball in. I hit some very important passing shots and his energy went down because of this and my energy went up.”
Western & Southern Open, SF, Tsitsipas d. Medvedev 7-6(6), 3-6, 6-3
Medvedev and Tsitsipas arrived in Cincinnati aiming to bounce back after disappointing opening-round exits in Montreal. Having advanced through their first three matches at the ATP Masters 1000 event, both showed signs that they were returning to their best ahead of the semi-final meeting.
Back in January at the Australian Open, Medvedev frustrated Tsitsipas with his deep-court defence forcing the Greek into errors off the backhand wing. Determined to gain revenge, Tsitsipas changed up the chessboard as he charged the net throughout to disrupt Medvedev’s rhythm.
The fourth seed won 75 per cent (27/36) of his net points in the match, moving forward effectively. While he hit some world-class volleys, his knack for well-timed approaches left him with a straightforward task on many of his trips to the forecourt. His old-school strategy worked wonders, with Tsitsipas emerging a 7-6(6), 3-6, 6-3 winner against Medvedev.
"There were some difficult shots I had to play a bit more," Tsitsipas said of his measured game plan. "A few short balls I really took advantage of and came in. A lot of courageous serve and volleys, approaches to the net that definitely gave me that great win today.”
Chasing his third ATP Masters 1000 crown, Tsitsipas was unable to back up his win against Medvedev, falling to Borna Coric in the championship match in Cincinnati.
Nitto ATP Finals, RR, Tsitsipas d. Medvedev 6-3, 6-7(11), 7-6(1)
The pressure was on Medvedev and Tsitsipas when they met at the Nitto ATP Finals after both had lost their opening round-robin match in Turin. The 2020 champion Medvedev had struggled to find consistency in his opener against Rublev, while 2019 champion Tsitsipas fell to eventual champion Novak Djokovic.
With the loser eliminated, Medvedev and Tsitsipas put on a show at the Pala Alpitour in a thrilling topsy-turvy clash that swayed one way and then the other. The Greek squandered three match points in the second set, before he regained his focus, rallying from 3-5 in the third set to eventually earn a dramatic 6-3, 6-7(11), 7-6(1) win.
Having served and volleyed his way to success in Cincinnati, Tsitsipas once again applied that tactic in Turin, winning 80 per cent (36/45) of points at the net as he took advantage of Medvedev’s deep court position throughout the two-hour, 21-minute clash.
“I’m so glad I overcame this and I was able to enjoy it with the crowd. It’s a great win and I’m extremely proud of the way I fought,” Tsitsipas said. “It never seemed to kind of be ending for me. Even on the last game when he was serving, I still felt if I was able to put a few balls in, some opportunity might present [itself], and it did.”
It was the second time Tsitsipas had defeated Medvedev on indoor hard courts, having beaten the former World No. 1 en route to the title in London in 2019. The Greek was unable to repeat that title feat in Turin, though, losing to Andrey Rublev in a winner-takes-all final round-robin match.
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