Medvedev beats Djokovic, to face Rublev in Dubai final

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Daniil Medvedev ended Novak Djokovic’s 20-match winning streak by beating the world’s top-ranked player 6-4, 6-4 to reach the final at the Dubai Championships on Friday.

The third-seeded Medvedev will face defending champion Andrey Rublev in an all-Russian final of the hard-court tournament.

The former No. 1 player picked up trophies in Rotterdam and Doha before coming to Dubai and beating Djokovic to extend his winning streak to 13 matches, the second longest of his career.

Medvedev broke Djokovic twice in the first set and again to open the second, eventually closing it out on his first match point.

Medvedev hadn’t beaten Djokovic since the 2021 U.S. Open final for his first — and only — major title. That win denied Djokovic the first calendar-year Grand Slam in men’s singles since 1969.

Djokovic then won their next four meetings.

But Medvedev improved to 5-3 against Djokovic when the Serb is ranked first.

Djokovic was competing in his first event since winning the Australian Open for his record-equaling 22nd Grand Slam singles title. He hadn’t lost since November when he dropped the Paris Masters final to Holger Rune.

Earlier, Rublev advanced by beating Alexander Zverev 6-3, 7-6 (9) in the other semifinal. He needed six match points to finally put away Zverev for his first tour-level win over the German.

Rublev lost all five previous matches against his longtime friend, who reached his first semifinal since the French Open last June.

The sixth-ranked Rublev saved a set point in the second-set tiebreaker.

“Today, when I was going on court, I was thinking I have nothing to lose. He always beat me, so why I need to be tight,” Rublev said.

Last year, he beat Jiri Vesely for the title.

Rublev has beaten Medvedev the last two times they squared off including at the ATP Finals last November.

That match is better remembered for Rublev’s appeal for peace. He wrote “Peace, Peace, Peace, All we need,” on a TV camera lens. He made a similar appeal shortly after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine just over a year ago.

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