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Medvedev beats Djokovic in Dubai, Rublev sends peace message

Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - MARCH 03: Novak Djokovic (L) of Serbia objects the referee as he competes with Daniil Medvedev (R) of Russia during men’s single quarter final match of Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship in Dubai, United Arab Emirates on March 03, 2023. (Photo by Waleed Zein/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- 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.

The third-seeded Medvedev will face defending champion Andrey Rublev in an all-Russian final that could have political overtones after Rublev reiterated his call for peace.

Medvedev 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.

The former No. 1 player broke Djokovic twice in the first set and again to open the second, eventually closing it out on his first match point.

“When you play against Novak you just have to play your best, kind of hope that he doesn’t play his best,” Medvedev said. “I managed to play a higher level than him today. In the second set, I didn’t face one break point but there were so many 30-30, deuce (games). I managed to keep composed.”

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.

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

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.

Rublev renewed that message.

“It’s crazy that so many just normal citizens are suffering, dying,” he told reporters. “The only thing I hope that soon there is going to be peace in every country. It doesn’t matter where.”

Rublev paid tribute to the late Soviet rock star Viktor Tsoi, writing “Tsoi is alive” on the court-side TV camera lens. Tsoi’s lyrics “gave a lot of hope to the people,” during the 1980s, Rublev said.