Daniil Medvedev claimed the 10th title of his promising career on Sunday, holding off Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert 6-4, 6-7(4), 6-4 in Marseille.
No. 3 Medvedev, winner of the ATP Finals last November in London, was taken the distance by the local hero in a crowd-free empty stadium in the southern port city.
The Russian who will rise to second in the world behind Novak Djokovic on Monday needed two and a quarter hours and 13 aces to secure his win; he salvaged four of five break points against his serve..
“I knew that I would become No. 2 no matter what on Monday,” Medvedev said. “It’s always better when you step up the rankings by doing something great.”
Medvedev continued to add to a new undefeated run (four so far) after sweeping his last 10 matches of 2020 and his first 10 of this season; the streak came to an end in the Australian Open final against Djokovic.
“I’m really happy about the tenth title. It gets me to two digits, something which I dreamt of when I was a kid.
“I’m going to try to work more and get some more.”
Six of Medvedev’s career trophies have come on indoor hardcourt, quickly becoming his surface of choice.
“I really like to play on hard courts. I feel like that is where my game suits me the best.
“I think I know the solutions I need to find during the match and that is what I did today.”
Medvedev improved to 14-2 in 2021 as he won his second of three matches against Herbert, who mixed in serve-and-volley and won the last five points of the second-set tiebreak to take the contest to a deciding set.
But Medvedev eventually prevailed for victory thanks to four consecutive late errors at the net from Herbert, who has yet to win a title from four finals.
“It’s been an incredible week. I played five really high-level matches,” Herbert said.
““I lost to someone who was just better (over) the full match. I managed to hold on and have a chance to win in the third set, but he was just too good.”