Simple as 1-2-3: Medvedev tops Thiem for ATP Finals title

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Daniil Medvedev of Russia kisses the winners trophy after defeating Dominic Thiem of Austria in the final of the ATP World Finals tennis match at the ATP World Finals tennis tournament at the O2 arena in London, Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

LONDON – Daniil Medvedev did not travel an easy path to the biggest title of his career at the ATP Finals: He beat No. 3 Dominic Thiem for the championship after earlier getting past No. 1 Novak Djokovic and No. 2 Rafael Nadal.

By switching tactics and coming back for a 4-6, 7-6 (2), 6-4 victory over U.S. Open champion Thiem in Sunday's final, No. 4 Medvedev became the first player to defeat each of the men ranked 1-3 in the season-ending championship — and only the fourth to do so at any tour event since 1990.

“Means a lot,” said Medvedev, a 24-year-old Russian. “Shows what I'm capable of when I'm playing good, when I'm feeling good mentally, physically. So I know what I'm capable of. Just need to produce it more and more.”

The win against Thiem on an indoor hard court in an arena without spectators, who were barred because of the coronavirus pandemic, followed those against Djokovic in the round-robin portion of the tournament and Nadal in Saturday’s semifinals

Medvedev went 5-0 in all, quite a turnaround from a year ago, when he was 0-3 at the ATP Finals. The tournament now ends its 12-edition stay in London and heads to Turin, Italy, next year.

Medvedev closed 2020 by going 10-0 in November, including seven wins against members of the Top 10. He had zero victories over Top 10 opponents over the preceding 12 months.

He called this run “a great boost of confidence for all the Slams coming up and all the tournaments. Hopefully I can continue this way.”

Thiem’s defense and power from the baseline put him on top early, and strong serving at key moments allowed him to save the first eight break points he faced.