Medvedev wins all-Russian Dubai final to lift third title in a row

Daniil Medvedev has won his third title in three weeks at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, adding to the trophies he picked up in Doha and Rotterdam. The world No 7 downed compatriot Andrey Rublev 6-2 6-2 in an all-Russian final to cap off an impressive week that also saw him become the first man this year to defeat Novak Djokovic.

Medvedev and Rublev were doing battle for the seventh time with two streaks on the line.  The world No 7 came into the final on a 13-match winning streak while the 25-year-old had won nine matches in a row in Dubai as the reigning champion.  

But it was the third seed who got off to a fast start, picking up where he left off in his defeat of Djokovic on Friday as he broke long-time friend Rublev in the first game of the match. Last year’s champion continued to struggle on his serve, being forced to save two break points at 1-3 before giving another away at the end of the set to allow Medvedev to serve for it at 5-2.

The world No 7 wasted no time in taking the first set, closing it out 6-2 in just 36 minutes as he started to race to a third title win in as many weeks. Rublev appeared to raise his level early in the second set as he held for a 2-1 lead but Medvedev stepped it up once more, continuing to find his forehand in the important moments as he broke for 3-2.

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And it was all one-way traffic from then on as some errors from the second seed gave Medvedev two more break points at 2-4. Rublev sent a ball long to give the break away and shouted to himself as he retreated to his bench with Medvedev about to serve for the title, as the reigning champion could be seen with his head in his hands.

Medvedev was quick to serve out a 6-2 6-2 victory in just 68 minutes, earning his first win over Rublev in more than two years to win the Dubai title on his debut and lift his third trophy in as many weeks, having also won Doha and Rotterdam back-to-back. The world No 7 outclassed his countryman, firing down 19 winners and just eight unforced errors while Rublev made 22 mistakes in his failed attempt at defending the title.

Medvedev also extended his match-winning streak to 14 – the second longest of his career after winning 20 in a row at the back end of the 2020 season, ending in the 2021 Australian Open final. He will go into the upcoming sunshine double as one of the main title contenders at both Indian Wells and Miami, with Rafael Nadal not playing and Djokovic reportedly denied entry into the US.

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The 27-year-old said the title was extra special given his start to the season, where he dropped out of the world’s top 10 for the first time since 2019 following an early exit at the Australian Open. “It’s amazing because the start of the year was not perfect,” he said after winning the title.

“In tennis when you don’t win tournaments you’re always doubting [yourself] no matter what happens in practice so I was doubting a lot but now it feels better and I’m really happy with these three weeks and now I’m just looking for the next ones.”

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