World No. 1 Daniil Medvedev on Saturday won his first ATP title of the year, roaring past defending champion Cameron Norrie 7-5, 6-0 in the final of the hardcourt tournament in Los Cabos, Mexico.
Medvedev snapped a five-match losing streak in finals — a stretch that included his agonizing, five-set loss to Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open final in February.
He also came up short this year in ’s-Hertogenbosch and Halle. He did not get a chance at Wimbledon, where Russian and Belarussian players were banned because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
His first trophy since he won the US Open last year — denying Novak Djokovic a calendar Grand Slam — came just as Medvedev launches the final buildup to his title defense in the final Grand Slam of the year.
Next he is to defend his Canadian Open title before tackling the Cincinnati Masters.
Defending Los Cabos champion Norrie did what he could in the opening set, but Medvedev gained a decisive break to lead 6-5 and once he had served out the opening set there was simply no stopping him.
“It was not easy,” Medvedev said in his on-court interview.
“Cam is an amazing player, so it was really intense,” he added. “When you play against him, you know that you have to fight for every point.”
Medvedev had two set points on his serve at 5-4, but was broken.
In the next game he scraped his hand on the court reaching for a shot on the opening point and needed treatment because of the blood.
“I didn’t play bad in that game at 5-4,” Medvedev said. “So I knew I just had to stay there. Actually bleeding helped me I think a little bit so I could hold my nerve a little bit more.”
Medvedev was playing his first tournament since a quarter-final exit at the Mallorca Open in June.
Medvedev stamped himself the early US Open favorite, especially given the likely absence of Djokovic because of his refusal to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and the uncertainty surrounding injured Nadal.
The Spaniard, ranked third in the world, pulled out of the Montreal Masters this week as he recovers from an abdominal tear suffered at Wimbledon.
At the Citi Open in Washington, Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka, ranked 96th in the world, beat top seed Andrey Rublev 6-3, 6-4, continuing his stellar show at the tournament and setting up a showdown against Australian Nick Kyrgios.
The 26-year-old left-hander came to the US capital having won five out of seven matches on the feeder Challenger circuit last month, but had not won a tour-level match since the Miami Masters in March.
He was yesterday to play for the biggest title of his career at the ATP 500 event against 2019 champion Kyrgios, who defeated Sweden’s Mikael Ymer 7-6(4) 6-3 in the other semi-final.
“I love to play here; I have been here many times. But for tomorrow, everyone loves Nick as well,” Nishioka said.
He added that he hoped the crowd would still cheer for him, and that he just planned to enjoy the day.
Additional reporting by Reuters
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