Daniil Medvedev looks to continue his incredible second half of the season on Sunday when he takes on Alexander Zverev in the final of the Shanghai Masters. The Russian is in his sixth consecutive final overall and his third in Masters 1000 events. Despite his 0-4 record against Zverev, Medvedev will likely be going into this one the favourite due to his dramatic improvement in 2019.
Zverev has been much improved this week as he seeks to earn his first Masters title of the year and fourth overall. He won in Madrid last year, adding it to his Rome and Canada titles the previous year as the stranglehold over them began to be released by the Big Four. After 17 aces helped him on his way to a stunning win against Roger Federer in the quarter finals, he added 11 more as he cruised to victory over the improving Matteo Berrettini. After losing to the Italian back in Rome, the 6-3 6-4 win was sweet revenge for the German. “It feels great, obviously. I felt like I’ve played some decent tennis this week and being in a Masters 1000 final here in Shanghai is also something very special for me, I’m looking forward to it and hopefully I can play some good tennis tomorrow.” he said.
The quarter finals were a showcase for four of the top young players on the ATP Tour, who should be in these positions for years to come. Medvedev had it tough against Stefanos Tsitsipas but delivered at the key moments once more to extend his head to head against the Greek to 5-0. The pair have a bubbling rivalry off the court but it has been all the Russian when it comes to the on-court action. “Making six [finals] in a row, including three Masters 1000’s and one Grand Slam, is something I could never dream of, to be honest,” said Medvedev. “But I want to keep the momentum going and hope I can make it to seven or eight.”
Medvedev’s record once he gets to these finals hasn’t been perfect but it’s only a US Open five set loss to Rafael Nadal that keeps his winning streak from being much longer. With two losses to Zverev in each of the previous two years, it says wonders about the confidence of the Russian that he goes into this one confident of victory. He is a far more focused and mentally strong player this year and will look to punish any slip up by his opponent, who will need to continue his stellar serving form. He continues to grind out wins far with a style far from what you’d expect from a player of his height. Additionally, he looks set to pick up the year end No.3 spot in the rankings too, barring an excellent end to the season from Roger Federer. The title here would just boost those chances further. For Zverev, a win here would go a long way to helping him make his return to the ATP Finals.
Prediction – Daniil Medvedev in three sets