Daniil Medvedev fought off seven break points in two opening-set service games to impose a 6-4, 6-2 defeat on Andrey Rublev in a romantic defensive effort on Monday at the ATP Finals.
The world No. 3 saved his lucky seven in the opening set – including four in the final game – and never again faced a threat to his serve.
Medvedev earned his Tour-leading 65th singles victory of the season as he bids for a sixth title of 2023 at the eight-man season wrap-up.
“It was a very tough one, especially the first set,” the winner said.
“Close, close margins. I believe these matches can go either way, so I’m happy today I managed to do better serves on break points, less mistakes.
“Because of this tough first set, I think second set he dropped his level.
“I managed to take it, and really happy with the win.”
Medvedev maintained his superiority over his good friend by breaking in the opening game of the second set and rolling to his victory in his first group match.
Rublev said he never got into gear against the Medvedev onslaught.
“As soon as we had a rally, I was playing well and I had great chances. I was not able to use my serve really well to open the court.
“Almost all the break points he save with a good serve.”