Dubai: Daniil Medvedev is on a hot streak. So hot that the Russian World No. 7 extended it to Dubai on Saturday for a hat-trick of ATP titles. Defending champion Andrey Rublev was the latest to succumb to the blazing racquet of the third seed, who won 6-2, 6-2 in the final of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship.
The Dubai win is the 18th Tour title and the third of the year for Medvedev, who came to the UAE after triumphs in Rotterdam and Doha (Qatar Open). The win extended the 27-year-old’s unbeaten run to 14 matches. Along the way, he demolished top seed and Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic in straight sets. In the final, Rublev seldom had answers to Medevedev’s consistency from the baseline.
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“It was amazing [to win] because the start of the year was not perfect. [I’m] really happy with the three weeks [winning three titles]. I’m looking forward to the next ones,” Medvedev said at the courtside interview.
Rublev, 25, who was aiming to emulate Swiss tennis great Roger Federer by winning back-to-back titles in Dubai, could not match the intensity and the incessant rallies of Medvedev. In the second seed tried to make a match of the one-sided final, but the 2021 US Open winner’s court coverage and retrievals were near flawless.
His serves were lethal too, and they were never under pressure. Some of his crosscourt returns left Rublev flailing. “Sometimes you play all the shots and lose matches. Now I don’t think anymore, and I just go for it. When the confidence is good, it helps a lot, the third seed said.
Medvedev broke Rublev in the first game to set the tone for the match. The defending champion tried to claw back into the match by engaging Medvedev in long rallies. But the 6’6” gangly Medvedev used his long limbs to cover the court quickly and reach near-impossible shots. Rublev tried to attack by approaching the net often, but that wasn’t enough, as the set slipped away in 37 minutes.
The second set followed a similar pattern, and Rublev’s woes continued to pile. The second seed badly mistimed some easy returns, and it was clear that it was not his day. More unforced errors crept into Rublev’s game against a doughty opponent, who continued to trade shots to elicit more mistakes.
“It was a very tactical [game]. Andrey [Rublev] can cause a lot of trouble to all players on the Tour. Every time we play, he tries to make me suffer,” Medvedev said, adding that Rublev is one of the skilful players on the Tour and can win many Grand Slams. “Hopefully, we can have many more finals together,” the Dubai tennis champion said.