Daniil Medvedev conquered all remaining doubts as he completed an impressive hat-trick, picking up a third title in as many weeks with a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Andrey Rublev in the Dubai final on Saturday.
“Not over yet,” scribbled the third-seeded Medvedev on the TV camera lens after his triumph, referring to his current 14-match winning streak amassed over the last 19 days, starting with the title in Rotterdam, followed by Doha and now Dubai.
“It’s amazing because the start of the year was not perfect; in tennis, when you don’t win tournaments you’re always doubting no matter what happens in practice,” said Medvedev, who briefly dropped out of the top 10 last month before recovering in tremendous fashion.
“I was doubting a lot and now it just feels better. I’m really happy with these three weeks and I’m looking forward to the next ones.”
Playing free-flowing tennis throughout the week, which earned him a coveted victory over world number one Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals before ending Rublev’s title defence in the final, Medvedev fired a total of 119 winners through five matches, including 27 in the championship decider.
“A lot of shots this tournament were landing, which were maybe not supposed to be, and that’s when confidence is going sometimes, so that helps a lot,” said Medvedev, who has now won his last four consecutive matches against top-10 opposition after losing nine in a row.
Rublev was the victor in his previous two clashes with Medvedev coming in, but had no answers for his compatriot on Saturday. He tried to venture up to the net, moving forward on 18 occasions, but was only successful on 12 of those approaches as Medvedev punished him from the back of the court.
“I think it was a very tactical match, I know that Andrey can cause a lot of troubles for everyone on tour. So for sure every time we play he tries to make me suffer, I try to make him suffer.
“Today I managed to be on top, but next matches could be a different story,” said Medvedev, who leads his childhood friend 5-2 head-to-head in tour-level meetings.
– Medvedev starts quickly –
Former world number one Medvedev put Rublev under pressure on serve from the start, and the No.2 seed had to come up with a courageous volley winner to fend off a first break point in the opening game. But Medvedev still found a way as he carved a 3-1 opening.
Rublev saved two break points to hold in game five but Medvedev still widened the gap with some exceptional returning two games later for a 5-2 advantage.
Medvedev confidently served out the opening set to take secure a one-set lead in 36 minutes. The 2021 US Open champion had dropped serve just twice all week and he kept that statistic intact in the final.
The 27-year-old blasted a forehand winner to break for 3-2 in the second set and he consolidated with ease as he marched towards victory shortly after.
Rublev has yet to successfully defend any of his 12 career titles but can take positives from his runner-up showing this week in Dubai.
“I had great matches, great victories, I was supposed to lose in the second round,” said Rublev, who saved five consecutive match points in his encounter with Alejandro Davidovich Fokina earlier in the week.
“But in the end I found a way to be alive until the final, and then Daniil destroyed me tonight.
“Only four games, I don’t know how he’s doing that, three titles in a row, it’s my first final of the season, I told him I’m completely destroyed and he won three titles in a row.
“I think I never said this to Daniil face to face, but I have huge, huge respect for him.”