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Medvedev reaches championship match at ATP Finals

Nitto ATP World Tour Finals - Day Seven

TURIN, ITALY - NOVEMBER 20: Daniil Medvedev of Russia plays a shot during the Men’s Single’s semi-final match between Daniil Medvedev of Russia and Casper Ruud of Norway on Day Seven of the Nitto ATP World Tour Finals at Pala Alpitour on November 20, 2021 in Turin, Italy. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images) (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

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TURIN, Italy - U.S. Open champion Daniil Medvedev is one win away from another big trophy.

The second-ranked Russian beat first-time qualifier Casper Ruud 6-4, 6-2 to advance to the championship match at the ATP Finals.

Medvedev, who won the season-ending event for the top eight players last year, will play either top-ranked Novak Djokovic or No. 3 Alexander Zverev in Sunday’s final.

Djokovic and Zverev were playing later in the first edition of the tournament in Turin - after 12 years in London.

In September at the U.S. Open, Medvedev ended Djokovic’s bid for a calendar-year Grand Slam by beating the Serb in the final to lift his first trophy at a major.

With only the top three players in the rankings still in contention, Medvedev was asked if he, Djokovic and Zverev are the new “Big Three” - the term used for the way Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Djokovic have dominated the game for so many years.

Djokovic won three of the four Grand Slams this year, Medvedev took the other and Zverev won gold at the Tokyo Olympics.

“I don’t want to say the Big Three but we are definitely right now at this moment the top three in the world,” Medvedev said. “It’s easy (to figure out) in tennis because it’s rankings.”

Dictating play from the start, Medvedev improved to 9-0 at the ATP Finals since going 0-3 in his 2019 debut.

An inside-out forehand winner from Medvedev that concluded a 32-shot rally led to an early break in the opening set. Then Medvedev began varying his game more with forays to the net and drop shots as he again broke midway through the second set.

Ruud was broken again when he interrupted a point to challenge a call, which held up under review, handing Medvedev a chance to serve the match out.

Medvedev finished it off with a perfectly executed serve and volley on his first match point.

Medvedev didn’t face a single break point and won 11 of 15 points at the net.

Ruud, who also lost to Djokovic in straight sets in his opening round-robin match, said that getting beat soundly by the top two players “makes me want to seek revenge and become a better player for the next year.”