Defending champion Daniil Medvedev set up a showdown with Novak Djokovic in the Paris Masters final after dismissing Alexander Zverev in straight sets.

The Russian, who downed Djokovic in the final of this year's US Open, was at his imperious best to see off Zverev 6-2 6-2 in the French capital.

He will now attempt to deny Djokovic a sixth title at the ATP 1000 event on Sunday, while seeking to etch his own name onto the trophy for a second year running.

World number two Medvedev, who overcame Zverev in the final of this event in 2020, ended the German's run of eight consecutive victories in style.

It took just 80 minutes for Medvedev to get the job done, his flat groundstrokes posing questions that Zverev had no answers to.

While Zverev did apply some pressure by forcing his rival to face three break points, Medvedev was cool under pressure as he held serve throughout the contest.

This triumph drew Medvedev level at 5-5 in the pair's head-to-head record.

He will likely face a sterner test against Djokovic, whose come-from-behind win over Hubert Hurkacz ensured he will claim the year-end number one ranking for a record seventh time.

On Sunday, he will bid to set another record by moving ahead of Rafael Nadal to reach 37 titles in Masters 1000 tournaments.

Novak Djokovic says he has room to improve despite easing past Taylor Fritz in straight sets to reach the semi-finals of the Paris Masters.

The world number one is competing in his first tournament since his dream of winning a calendar Grand Slam was ended by Daniil Medvedev in September's US Open final.

After beating Marton Fucsovics in three sets and then benefiting from a walkover against Gael Monfils in the last 16, Djokovic made light work of Fritz in Friday's quarter-final.

He sent down eight aces and was successful with 72 per cent of his first serves that landed on his way to a 6-4 6-3 victory.

However, Djokovic lost his serve on three occasions and, while happy with his overall display, the Serbian feels like there is more to come from his game in the French capital.

"I was absent from the tour for two months coming into this tournament," he said. "The last competitive match I played was in the US Open final, compared to the other guys playing one or two events prior to Paris.

"I knew that I needed to start well, with good intensity and put in a lot of hours on the practice court. But it's different when you play points in a competitive match.

"I am pleased with the way I played against Fucsovics and again today, though I did have ups and downs. I am not entirely pleased with the way I closed out the sets.

"I backed myself up with good returns and read Taylor's serve very well to get into rallies. I closed out the last couple of service games well and that's a positive."

Djokovic is aiming to win the Paris Masters for a record-extending sixth time in his bid to end the year as world number one for a record seventh occasion.

The Serbian will contest his 71st career Masters 1000 semi-final – four short of Rafael Nadal's record – against Hubert Hurkacz, who saw off James Duckworth 6-2 6-7 (4-7) 7-5.

With that victory, the world number 10 clinched the final singles spot at the ATP Finals in Turin later this month.

Hurkacz is the second Polish player to qualify for the event after Wojtek Fibak in 1976. It also means only European players will feature in the ATP and WTA Finals for the first time ever.

Saturday's other semi-final in Paris will be contested between Djokovic's US Open conqueror Medvedev and Olympic gold medallist Alexander Zverev.

Home favourite Hugo Gaston eliminated Pablo Carreno Busta earlier in the tournament but was always likely to face a tougher task against Medvedev.

So it proved, with the qualifier going down 7-6 (9-7) 6-4 in a match that saw Medvedev hit 13 aces to his opponent's one.

"When the atmosphere is against you, you need to face it," Medvedev said. "You need to try to win, no matter what.

"Even when it is against me, I think, 'I will try to beat my opponent and the crowd' because there is no other choice."

Zverev kept his momentum going with a 7-5 6-4 win over Casper Ruud in Friday's final contest, as he made it eight wins on the bounce.

The German held serve throughout, while breaking his opponent twice, to remain on course for a sixth final of 2021.

Alexander Zverev was given a thorough examination of his Paris Masters credentials by Grigor Dimitrov, but the fourth seed progressed nonetheless to reach the last eight.

Zverev, who last in last year's final, saw match points slip from his grasp in the second set as Dimitrov levelled the match, however, he eventually prevailed on Thursday.

World number one Novak Djokovic benefited from a walkover, while Daniil Medvedev also moved through to the quarter-finals of the ATP Masters 1000 event.

Zverev outlasts Dimitrov

Olympic Games gold medallist Zverev had to dig deep for his 7-6 (7-4) 6-7 (3-7) 6-3 win over former world number three Dimitrov.

It was Zverev's seventh win on the bounce, but he was well aware of just how deep he had to dig to see off a resilient Dimitrov.

"Incredible match," Zverev, who won a fifth tour title of the year last week at the Vienna Open, said afterwards. "Grigor is playing very high-level tennis and I had to leave everything out there.

"I think it was a very high-level match and it could have gone both ways, especially the third set. I am happy with how things went in the end."

Djokovic moves through without playing

There was no such ordeal for top seed Djokovic, however.

Djokovic – a 20-time grand slam champion – received a walkover after Gael Monfils was advised not to continue with the tournament due to an adductor issue sustained in his previous win over Adrian Mannarino.

Taylor Fritz awaits five-time Paris champion Djokovic after the American saw off 10th seed Norrie 6-3 7-6 (7-3), while Casper Ruud will tussle with Zverev.

Ruud's emphatic 6-2 6-1 demolition of Marcos Giron clinched a historic achievement for the 22-year-old – who became the first Norwegian to qualify for the ATP Finals at the end of a breakthrough year in which no player can better his five tour-level titles.

Hubert Hurkacz did his chances of joining Ruud in Turin no harm as the Polish seventh seed – who holds the last automatic qualifying berth – fought back to defeat Dominik Koepfer 4-6 7-5 6-2 and set up a meeting with James Duckworth, who beat Alexei Popyrin 7-6 (8-6) 6-4.

Second seed and US Open champion Medvedev was another who had to come from behind before ultimately seeing off Sebastian Korda 4-6 6-1 6-3.

He will go up against Hugo Gaston, who became the first French qualifier to reach the Paris Masters quarter-finals since 1990 with his win over Carlos Alcaraz.

Teenage sensation Carlos Alcaraz put in an impressive display to upstage eighth seed Jannik Sinner in straights sets in the third round of the ATP Paris Masters on Wednesday.

Alcaraz was on top for most of his 7-6 (7-1) 7-5 victory, winning 80 per cent of his first-serve points and 75 per cent of net points against Sinner.

Sinner showed determination to stay in both sets, with the Italian saving nine of the 11 break points he faced, but it was ultimately in vain.

The European Open winner will be among those sweating as the race to qualify for the ATP Finals in Turin heats up.

After the win, 18-year-old Alcaraz said: "I'm so happy for this win as Jannik was fighting for a spot at the ATP Finals. It's my third Top 10 win of the year.

"I think Jannik and I will have a great rivalry in the future... I think that I played really, really aggressive, more than him. I think that was one of the keys."

Alcaraz will now face qualifier Hugo Gaston in the next round after the Frenchman impressively knocked out 12th seed Pablo Carreno Busta 6-7 (3-7) 6-4 7-5.

Interesting day for Turin hopefuls

It was a mixed day for others looking to secure a spot at the season-ending ATP Finals later this month as Felix Auger-Aliassime – ranked 12th in the ATP Race to Turin – lost in straight sets to Dominik Koepfer, who added to his impressive list of victims after beating three-time grand slam champion Andy Murray in the first round.

Koepfer will play another Turin hopeful, the 10th-ranked Hubert Hurkacz after he beat Tommy Paul in straight sets.

Cameron Norrie also impressed in his 6-3 6-4 win over Reilly Opelka, which was his 50th tour-level win of the year.

Taylor Fritz awaits after the American stunned fifth seed Andrey Rublev 7-5 7-6 (7-2).

 

Medvedev and Zverev ease through but Tsitsipas out

Second seed and US Open champion Daniil Medvedev had a routine first match of the tournament as he swept past Ilya Ivashka 7-5 6-4, while Olympic Games gold medallist and fourth seed Alexander Zverev also had few problems against Dusan Lajovic 6-3 7-6 (7-5).

However, third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas exited after retiring hurt with an apparent arm injury against Alexei Popyrin in the first set with the score at 4-2 to the Australian.

Popyrin will now face fellow countryman James Duckworth, who followed up his impressive win against 14th seed Roberto Bautista Agut with a 6-3 3-6 6-3 victory against Lorenzo Musetti.

Elsewhere, 11th seed Diego Schwartzman was shocked by qualifier Marcos Giron 7-6 (7-2) 7-6 (7-4).

There were also wins for 16th seed Grigor Dimitrov against Karen Kachanov, and Sebastian Korda over Marin Cilic.

Gael Monfils will go up against world number one Novak Djokovic in the third round after the experienced French 15th seed came from behind to beat compatriot Adrian Mannarino 2-6 7-6 (7-4) 6-2.

Novak Djokovic is unwilling to commit to January's Australian Open as the defending champion awaits confirmation on travel and entry requirements amid Victoria's vaccine mandate.

The state of Victoria, where the year's opening grand slam takes place at Melbourne Park, has introduced a vaccine mandate for professional athletes and across most industries due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The 2021 Australian Open went ahead, albeit in February instead of January, and without fans for most of the tournament following a snap lockdown of Melbourne due to COVID-19.

Last week, Australia prime minister Scott Morrison said unvaccinated players would be allowed to contest the slam if they completed two weeks in quarantine, though Victoria premier Dan Andrews dismissed those comments, insisting athletes would not be granted access unless they received the COVID-19 vaccine.

A record nine-time Australian Open champion, world number one Djokovic remains non-committal over his looming title defence.

"Well, I'm going to decide on whether I go to Australia or not after I see the official statement from Tennis Australia," Djokovic said as he prepares for the Paris Masters – his first tournament since losing to Daniil Medvedev in September's US Open final.

"Right now, we don't have any official announcement or statement. So until that's out, I won't be talking about this anymore, because I don't want to be part of the stories about the assumptions and what-ifs.

"When official condition requirements to travel to Australia and play in Australia are out, then obviously I'll see what I personally do with that, and also the bigger group of the players, you know, because the situation is obviously different in Australia than most parts of the world."

World number two Medvedev also refused to confirm his Australian Open participation.

"I always said it, that I really like Novak's answer about this. I want to keep my medical, no matter if it's about vaccine, leg injury, head injury... I want to keep my medical private for a reason," Medvedev said.

"I feel like tennis is such a brutal sport where you're always one on one against your opponent, and any information you give him can go against you.

"If you're playing Australia, it's obvious you're vaccinated. So that's why I said I'm willing to play Australia, but I won't say if you'll see me there, but we're going to see in January."

World number one Novak Djokovic said he will return to action at the Paris Masters blessed to be a more "humble" tennis player.

The Serbian makes his first appearance since his US Open final defeat to Daniil Medvedev at the ATP 1000 tournament in the French capital.

That defeat in New York cost Djokovic the chance to become only the third man to win a singles calendar slam by winning all four majors in the same year.

Djokovic also missed the opportunity to move top of the all-time Grand Slam tournament winners list and remains joint-top alongside Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal with 20 titles.

However, the 34-year-old – whose status for the 2021 Australian Open remains unknown – was phlegmatic when he reflected on his loss to Russian world number two Medvedev.

"In a most ideal scenario, I would have won all four of them," Djokovic told a media conference. "Knowing I was so close gives me great encouragement for the future, but it also makes me feel humble about my game, about my career.

"It gives me a kind of reality check where I have to go back to the practice court and really understand what needs to be done so that I could improve.

"This was not an ordinary loss considering the circumstances. I have learned over the years to deal with losses in such way that I treat them as great opportunities for growth.

"I feel that the US Open loss in the final has arrived arguably at the worst or at the best time for me, in a way.

"I'm disappointed that I lost the match, but I feel like I was blessed to experience love from the crowd and support from the stadium that I have never experienced before in my life in New York, and actually not in many places around the world.

"That kind of energy that I received from the crowd from the moment I stepped on the court until I stepped out is a win for life."

Djokovic, who has won four of the last eight Paris Masters tournaments, claimed the prospect of ending the year as the world number one ahead of Medvedev will motivate him.

Should he do so then Djokovic would leapfrog Pete Sampras for the most year-end number one finishes in history with seven.

He will face either Italian Fabio Fognini or Hungarian Marton Fucsovics having received a bye through the first round.

"The year-end number one is on the line between Medvedev and myself, and I'm in a pretty good position," added Djokovic, who has won 85 ATP tour titles.

"That's obviously the goal for the end of the season other than trying to do well in the Davis Cup with the national team. So hopefully I can have a strong finish of the season and clinch that year-end number one.

"I’m pleased to be back. I have been training really well the past couple of weeks. And I have had plenty of success in Paris over the years, so that gives me enough reason to believe that I can do well.

"The lack of match play could be dangerous, so I have to really make sure that I start off my first match very well with a good intensity and build my form."

Daniil Medvedev says it is "logical" that the age of Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic has made it easier to play against the 'Big Three' of men's tennis.

For so long, that triumvirate has dominated the ATP Tour, with Djokovic winning three of the four grand slams on offer in 2021 – denied only a clean sweep by Medvedev at the US Open.

Nadal has struggled with a foot injury for most of the year, though, a problem that saw him miss out on Wimbledon, the Tokyo Olympics and Flushing Meadows after losing to Djokovic in the French Open semi-finals.

Federer, similarly, has missed large parts of the 2021 term after requiring a third operation on his right knee in the space of 18 months.

Medvedev accepted Djokovic had proven "he can beat everyone" in another sensational season, but – while heaping praise on a golden generation of tennis – the Russian said it is natural that time has caught up with all three.

"It would be silly to deny it…[it's] logical," he told reporters about the prospect of younger players replacing the greats at the top of the men's game.

"It is something natural. It is not something that I decide. It is evidence. They get old and now it is easier to play against them."

Medvedev only dropped one set across the entire tournament en route to securing a maiden slam at the US Open.

However, Medvedev was reticent to say the shift in power has taken place.

"I do not dare to speak of a generational change in tennis," Medvedev said.

"It is the best generation in the history of tennis.

"Nobody can come close to the results they have achieved.

"We all want to defeat that troika. And they don't want to lose either."

 

Medvedev then focused on his own progress, having pulled out of the Kremlin Cup citing injury problems from an early exit in Indian Wells.

"I want to win more Grand Slams," he continued. "I also want to be number one and be at the top of tennis for many years. But you can't win every tournament, it's impossible."

Daniil Medvedev was ousted from the Indian Wells Masters, the US Open champion and top seed stunned by former world number three Grigor Dimitrov in a thrilling comeback.

Dimitrov had been a set and a double break down against the Russian star on Wednesday, before launching a remarkable rally for his first win over a top-two opponent since 2016.

Meanwhile, second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas and third seed Alexander Zverev both won to secure their spots in the last eight.

 

MEDVEDEV SHOCKED IN THE DESERT

Dimitrov roared back to triumph 4-6 6-4 6-3 over Medvedev, who had won 18 of his past 19 matches on North American soil.

Bulgarian star Dimitrov trailed 4-1 in the second set after dropping the opener before stunning the first-time grand slam champion midweek.

"I just felt something at 1-4 and I calmed myself down and started to take better decisions and started to control the pace of the game, which I really believed helped me," Dimitrov – the 23rd seed – said. "In the end it was just very solid and smart play."

Dimitrov finished the match with 25 winners, while he was also excellent at the net, helping him claim his first quarter-final appearance at an ATP Masters 1000 event this season.

Medvedev sent down 5-1 aces but only managed a 54 per cent first-serve percentage, while he also faced 10 break points across the match. Dimitrov won five games in a row to claim the second set.

"I don't remember myself losing three service games, even four service games ever, I guess, on hard courts," Medvedev said.

"That shows how slow this court is and the conditions, more like clay, I would say, which I don't like, because to lose serve four times is just unacceptable."

Dimitrov will face eighth seed Hubert Hurkacz in the quarter-finals after he got past Australian Open semi-finalist Aslan Karatsev 6-1 6-3.

Medvedev added: "Grigor played [the] second part of the match better than anybody did against me [at the] US Open that I won. Playing this level, I don't see him losing to anybody, but let's see the result."

 

ZVEREV MAKES STATEMENT WITH MONFILS WIN

Olympic Games gold medallist Zverev bulldozed his way past 14th seed Gael Monfils 6-1-6-3 en route to the last eight.

German star Zverev claimed his 20th win from his last 21 matches, needing just over an hour to dispatch Monfils.

Zverev claimed 19 of 25 points at the net, hitting 19 winners including 11 with his forehand, while converting four of eight break points.

"I felt well on the court today. Gael is someone I haven't beaten before, so I knew had to play my best tennis and I definitely was not far away," Zverev said during his on-court interview.

Zverev will take on American 31st seed Taylor Fritz, who defeated 10th seed Jannik Sinner 6-4 6-3.

 

TSITSIPAS OUTLASTS DE MINAUR

French Open runner-up Tsitsipas saw off a tough challenge from Australian Alex de Minaur to secure his spot in the quarter-finals 6-7 (3-7) 7-6 (7-3) 6-2.

Tsitsipas fought back from a set down to win against the 22nd seed, triumphing in two hours, 43 minutes.

Greek star Tsitsipas showed grit to outlast the tiring De Minaur and will face 29th seed Nikoloz Basilashvili after he knocked off fellow seed Karen Khachanov 6-4 7-6 (8-6).

"That was incredible the way I just stayed in the match," Tsitsipas said. "I had to go through so many difficulties in order to find a solution and I executed towards the end of the match."

There were further top-10 casualties, with sixth seed Casper Ruud also bowing out 6-3 6-3 to 11th seed Diego Schwartzman, who will meet Cameron Norrie in the quarters.

Top-10 seeds Andrey Rublev and Denis Shapovalov were bounced from the Indian Wells Masters on Monday as number one seed Daniil Medvedev hit a season milestone. 

Tommy Paul took down Rublev, beating the fourth seed for the first time in four meetings, while the ninth-seeded Shapovalov fell to Aslan Karatsev.

The news was not all bad for the higher seeds, though, as US Open champion Medvedev picked up his 50th win of the year. 

 

PAUL DOWNS RUBLEV

Playing in the main draw at Indian Wells for the first time, the 24-year-old American Paul outlasted Rublev 6-4 3-6 7-5 for his second win in eight career matches against top-10 players.

Paul was on the offensive throughout the match, firing 41 winners while making 37 unforced errors, while Rublev had 23 of each. 

The Russian will lament missed opportunities, as he converted just four of 14 break point chances before watching Paul break him twice in the final set to prevail. 

Paul moves on to face 21st seed Cameron Norrie, who beat Roberto Bautista Agut 6-4 5-7 6-3.

 

MEDVEDEV NOTCHES 50TH WIN

Medvedev had to work a bit to get past 27th seed Filip Krajinovic 6-2 7-6 (7-1), improving to 38-5 on hard courts in 2021. Only Stefanos Tsitsipas (52) has more victories overall this year. 

The Russian had 25 winners and 18 unforced errors while winning 70 per cent of points on his first serve. 

He next faces 23rd seed Grigor Dimitrov, who downed 16th seed Reilly Opelka 6-3 6-4. 

 

KARATSEV UPSETS SHAPOVALOV

Playing at Indian Wells for the first time, 19th seed Karatsev upset Shapovalov 7-5 6-2, saving the only break point he faced in the match.

Casper Ruud, seeded sixth, rallied past Lloyd Harris 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 6-4 as he seeks his sixth tournament title this year. 

He will face 11th seed Diego Schwartzmann, who beat 18th seed Daniel Evans 5-7 6-4 6-0 to reach the fourth round at Indian Wells for the first time.

Eighth seed Hubert Hurkacz had little trouble with Frances Tiafoe, rolling past the American in straight sets.

Jannik Sinner, the 10th seed, advanced via walkover when John Isner withdrew from the tournament to fly home and be with his wife Madison with their third child expected to arrive ahead of schedule on Tuesday. 

Top seed Daniil Medvedev made quick work of Mackenzie McDonald in his opening match at the Indian Wells Masters, cruising to a 6-4 6-2 victory on Saturday.

Medvedev – the US Open champion – has lost only three of his last 41 sets, and has never dropped one to McDonald in five career meetings with the American as he maintained his red-hot form. 

Russian star Medvedev is now 37-5 on hardcourts this year and appears well-positioned to make it past the third round of the ATP Masters 1000 tournament for the first time as he awaits Filip Krajinovic.

"I'm actually really pleased, because usually I haven’t played well in Indian Wells and I haven’t been playing that well in practices before [the tournament]," Medvedev said in his on-court interview. "[I am] really happy with my performance. That’s the most important [thing] no matter how I played before the tournament."

RUBLEV ROLLS PAST TABERNER

Medvedev's countryman Andrey Rublev closed out the night session with a 6-3 6-4 defeat of Carlos Taberner, who was facing a top-10 opponent for the first time. 

Fourth seed and world number five Rublev won 66 per cent of points on his first serve and hit 30 winners to Taberner's 12. 

Rublev improved to 47-16 this season, 31-9 on hard courts, and will face Tommy Paul in the third round. 

 

SHAPOVALOV WINS IN NEAR-WALKOVER

Most of the seeded players in action had an easy time of it, none more so than Canadian ninth seed Denis Shapovalov.

Shapovalov's opponent and countryman Vasek Pospisil retired with an apparent back injury after dropping the first three games of the match. 

Sixth seed Casper Ruud blew past Roberto Carballes Baena 6-1 6-2, while eighth seed Hubert Hurkacz downed Alexei Popyrin 6-1 7-5. 

Diego Schwartzman had to work harder to advance, the 11th seed outlasting qualifier Maxime Cressy 6-2 3-6 7-5. 

Top-ranked American Reilly Opelka, the 16th seed, beat Taro Daniel 7-5 6-3 for his first main-draw victory at Indian Wells in four attempts. 

Daniel Evans also went the distance to defeat Kei Nishikori 4-6 6-3 6-4, while former world number three Grigor Dimitrov, 2021 Australian Open semi-finalist Aslan Karatsev and Frances Tiafoe were among the other players to advance.

Team Europe are poised to seal yet more Laver Cup glory after producing another dominant display against Team World, though the focus was on Nick Kyrgios following comments about his long-term future.

Europe swept Saturday's four matches in Boston to stand on the cusp of a fourth consecutive Laver Cup triumph – the defending champions lead 11-1 and require just two more points to clinch the title.

Stefanos Tsitsipas blitzed Team World's Kyrgios 6-3 6-4 at TD Garden, where Olympic Games gold medallist Alexander Zverev beat John Isner 7-6 (7-5) 6-7 (6-8) 10-5 before US Open champion Daniil Medvedev made light work of Denis Shapovalov 6-4 6-0.

Team Europe secured their fourth win of the day in the doubles – Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev teaming up to defeat Isner and Kyrgios 6-7 (8-10) 6-3 10-4.

After Kyrgios' straight-sets loss to Greece's Tsitsipas, the 26-year-old Australian star casted doubt over his tennis future.

"This is my probably my last Laver Cup," former world number 13 Kyrgios – an Australian Open and Wimbledon quarter-finalist – told reporters post-match. "I don't know how much longer I will be in tennis.

"This is my last event of the year. I will get my body right ahead of the Australian Open.

"My mum is not doing too well with her health. I'd like to go back and see her."

"As long as I'm on the court, I will try and give my best, but I'm not going to lie and say that I'm going to plan to play four or five more years on tour," Kyrgios said. "That's just not me."

Playing for the first time since earning his maiden grand slam trophy at the expense of record-chasing Novak Djokovic at Flushing Meadows, world number two Medvedev suffered no letdown against Shapovalov.

"I played unbelievably, especially [in] the second set," Russia's Medvedev said in his on-court interview. "I didn't know what to expect because after the US Open, I didn't play for a week and a half. Came here, practised as much as I could the past three days, so I didn't hit [that] many balls, but was surprisingly feeling well.

"I wanted to show that also today. [The] first [set] was not easy, the ball was not going as fast as I wanted [and] he was playing really good. And then I just couldn't miss a ball anymore. I'm really happy about [that]."

Novak Djokovic was "playing for history" and suffered from nerves in his US Open final defeat to Daniil Medvedev, according to previous champion Dominic Thiem, who backed the 34-year-old to return "stronger than ever" in 2022.

Medvedev prevented Djokovic from becoming the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to win all four grand slams in a single year, beating him 6-4 6-4 6-4 in Sunday's thrilling showpiece.

Djokovic was seen in tears during the third set as his hopes of adding the US Open to his run of wins at the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon this year slipped away.

But Thiem tipped Djokovic to bounce back from the disappointment of defeat and return in 2022 even stronger.

"One unbelievable goal slipped out of his hands yesterday," Thiem told Stats Perform.

 

"I expect him to be as strong as ever in 2022. I think after he won in Roland Garros, everybody was only talking about the calendar slam – first about the golden slam, and then about the calendar slam.

"He [Djokovic] was under pressure. Nobody can feel that or anything like that because of it being the calendar slam.

"I can feel it in a smaller way, probably from last year's final and from some other matches. And at some points it's just getting to you. And so, I really felt for him as well towards the end of the match.

"So, it can happen that it also makes him even stronger next year when all these talks and all this pressure is not that big anymore."

Thiem, who missed the tournament with a wrist injury that will rule him out until 2022, believes nerves were a factor in Djokovic's defeat but agreed with Medvedev's assessment of the Serbian as the greatest of all time – though he could not set him apart from Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

"For me, there are three GOATs in the game, and each of them has achieved something very unique," Thiem said of the trio locked on 20 major titles each.

"So it's still the same for me as it was before. The three of them are the best in the history to me.

"And I'm only super happy to be in the same era with them and to be able to compete with them. Hopefully many more times next year again."

Daniil Medvedev was relieved to close out his first grand slam title at the US Open after revealing he was cramping in his quest to conquer Novak Djokovic.

Medvedev blitzed world number one and 20-time major champion Djokovic 6-4 6-4 6-4 in the men's final at Flushing Meadows on Sunday.

Djokovic's bid to become just the third man and first since Rod Laver in 1969 to claim a calendar Grand Slam, and to surpass Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal for the most major men's titles, was emphatically ended by Medvedev.

Medvedev fired down 16 aces and hit 38 winners in a ruthless display on Arthur Ashe Stadium. However, the second seed conceded he was worried at the end of the third set as he tried to see off Djokovic.

Russian star Medvedev double-faulted twice in succession when his first championship point arrived and gave back one of those breaks to Djokovic, who closed to 5-4. But the former came out to serve again and again served a double on a championship point, though he had another in store and the Serb netted on the backhand.

"I definitely had it [pressure]," Medvedev – who lost to Djokovic in the 2021 Australian Open final, having gone down to Nadal in the 2019 US Open showpiece – told reporters. "I started cramping at 5-3, I think because of the pressure at 5-2 where I had match points, I didn't make it. My legs were gone after 5-3. At 5-4, left leg, I almost couldn't walk. If you really look the replay, when I walked to the towel, my leg was just going behind. I was trying not to show it. If Novak feels it, it's not good.

"Again, 40-15, that's two match points. I was like, C'mon, go for an ace, just try to make it. I had a huge double-fault. Second one was like in the middle of the net. Okay, I have one more. Just try to make a first serve. I made it and I'm really happy."

Medvedev became the first Russian man to win a grand slam since Marat Safin at the 2005 Australian Open.

The 25-year-old also became the ninth different men's champion of the last 14 years in New York, including first-time major winners Dominic Thiem, Marin Cilic, Andy Murray and Juan Martin del Potro. During the same time, the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon have each been claimed by four different men.

Medvedev – the second player since Ivan Lendl in 1987 to lose just one set en route to the men's US Open crown after Nadal in 2010 – is the fifth player to clinch a slam final against Djokovic.

He is also the fourth player with four or more wins over Djokovic as world number one, after Nadal (nine), Federer (five) and Murray (five).

"It definitely makes it sweeter [beating a world number one for first major trophy]," Medvedev said. "I mean, a grand slam is a grand slam. I would win it against Botic [Van de Zandschulp] in the final, probably I would be same happy.

"For the confidence and for my future career, knowing that I beat somebody who was 27-0 in a year in grand slams, I lost to him in Australia, he was going for huge history, and knowing that I managed to stop him it definitely makes it sweeter and brings me confidence for what is to come on hard courts so far, but let's see about other surfaces."

Medvedev was also asked about his celebration – the 13-time ATP Tour champion fell to the court after vanquishing Djokovic, with his eyes closed and tongue out.

It was in reference to FIFA's video game and the "dead fish" celebration.

"I like to play FIFA," he said. "I like to play PlayStation. It's called the dead fish celebration. If you know your opponent when you play FIFA, many times you're going to do this. You're going to score a goal, you're up 5-0, you do this one.

"I talked to the guys in the locker, they're young guys, super chill guys. They play FIFA. They were like, That's legendary. Everybody who I saw who plays FIFA thinks that's legendary. That's how I wanted to make it.

"Again, it's not because I want to be on the newspaper talking about FIFA celebration or whatever. I don't care. But I wanted to make it special for people to love, for my friends to love who I play FIFA with. I knew I'm going to make it. I got hurt a little bit. It's not easy to make it on hard courts. I got hurt a little bit, but I'm happy I made it legendary for myself."

Despite all appearances as he ploughed through the draws at all four grand slams this year, world number one Novak Djokovic does have a breaking point. 

Djokovic hit it on Sunday, falling 6-4 6-4 6-4 to Daniil Medvedev in the US Open final as the 20-time major champion finally proved unable to will himself out of an early hole. 

It was the fifth successive match in which Djokovic had dropped the opening set at Flushing Meadows, and the Serb superstar acknowledged afterward all of the energy he expended to get to the brink of the first men's calendar Grand Slam –since 1969 and a record 21st major title might finally have caught up with him. 

"Could be, could be [time spent on court a factor]. I had more hours on the court spent from Daniil, that's for sure," Djokovic said at his post-match news conference. "But was also emotionally very demanding period for me in the last five, six months. Slams and Olympics and playing at home in Belgrade.

"Everything was coming together for me here and kind of accumulating all the emotions that I've been through.

"Unfortunately I didn't make it in the final step. But when you draw a line, you have to be very satisfied with the year. Three wins, three slams and a final. For the last couple of years I've been very transparent and vocal about my goals, to play my best tennis at slams. I'm managing to do that.

"Of course, I was short today for another slam title, but I have to be proud with everything that my team and I have achieved. And in tennis we learn very quickly how to turn the next page.

"Very soon there are some more challenges, more things that are coming up. I have learned to overcome these kind of tough losses in the finals of slams, the ones that hurt the most."

This defeat sent a range of emotions surging through the emotional 34-year-old as he sat courtside while awaiting the trophy presentation. 

Asked what was going through his mind at that moment, Djokovic's initial answer was succinct. 

"Relief," he said. "I was glad it was over because the build up for this tournament and everything that mentally, emotionally I had to deal with throughout the tournament in the last couple of weeks was just a lot. It was a lot to handle.

"I was just glad that finally the run is over. At the same time I felt sadness, disappointment, and also gratitude for the crowd and for that special moment that they've created for me on the court."

Djokovic heaped praise on his opponent, saying he expects Medvedev to win more grand slams in the years ahead after the Russian broke through for his first.

That inevitably sparked thoughts of the coming generational change in the men's game, dominated for so long by Djokovic, Rafael Nadal (35) and Roger Federer (40).

With an astonishing 60 grand slam titles between them, their eventual departure from the stage will open up opportunities for Medvedev, Tokyo Olympics gold medallist Alexander Zverev and other younger players. 

Djokovic insisted he is not quite done yet, but he does believe that transition already is in progress. 

"The older guys are still hanging on," he said. "We're still trying to shine the light on the tennis world as much as we possibly can.

"I'm speaking on my own behalf. I still want to keep going, try to win more slams, play for my country. Those are the things that motivate me the most I think at this point.

"But the new generation, if you want to call them this way, is not anyone new. It's already current, established. Of course, they are going to take over.

"I think tennis is in good hands because they're all nice guys and very, very good, high-quality tennis players. They got something to offer on and off the court.

"We are hoping that the transition will be smooth in terms of the attention and the popularity of this sport. It's very important.

"We all, of course, want to win on the court, but at the same time we all at the top represent this sport. We need to be aware of that, take this responsibility and try to bring more fans to the world of tennis.

"At the end of the day that's what counts and that's what keeps our sport alive."

US Open champion Daniil Medvedev labelled Novak Djokovic the "greatest tennis player in history" after snapping the superstar's historic bid for a calendar Grand Slam.

Djokovic was seeking to become just the third man and first since Rod Laver in 1969 to claim all four majors in a year, however, the 20-time slam champion was swept aside by Medvedev 6-4 6-4 6-4 in Sunday's final at Flushing Meadows.

Medvedev showed no mercy as the world number two broke through for his first slam title, having lost to Djokovic in the 2021 Australian Open final and Rafael Nadal in the 2019 US Open decider.

As Medvedev celebrated his maiden major crown, the Russian star heaped praise on the beaten and emotional world number one – who shares the record for most men's slams alongside Nadal and Roger Federer.

"I think it's the first time I'm so nervous, saying my speech," Medvedev said during his trophy presentation in New York.

"First of all I want to say sorry for you, the fans, and Novak because I mean, we, we all know what he was going for today.

"What you accomplished this year and throughout your career – I never said this to anybody, but I will say right now for me: You are the greatest tennis player in history."

Medvedev became the first Russian man to win a grand slam since Marat Safin in 2005 on a memorable night.

The 25-year-old also became the ninth different men's champion of the last 14 years in New York, including first-time major winners Dominic Thiem, Marin Cilic, Andy Murray and Juan Martin del Potro. During the same time, the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon have each been claimed by four different men.

Medvedev – the second player since Ivan Lendl in 1987 to lose just one set en route to the men's US Open crown after Nadal in 2010 – is the fifth player to clinch a slam final against Djokovic.

"He is also the fourth player with four or more wins over Djokovic as world number one, after Nadal (nine), Federer (five) and Murray (five).

"Last but not least, I want to I want to finish my speech on a very sweet note. It's the third anniversary for me and my wife today," Medvedev added.

"You know, during the tournament I couldn't think of a present or anything, so when I went in the final, after semis, I thought okay if I lose, I need to find a present fast. ... I thought, well, if I lose, I have no time to have a present, so I have to win this match."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.