Standing at 6’6”, Daniil Medvedev and Alexander Zverev’s attributes have helped them reach the top of the game. The pair crush serves and are good defenders, using their long levers to hang in points and turn the tables.
When facing off, Medvedev and Zverev have had tight clashes on Tour. Zverev won the first four matches of their rivalry, but Medvedev has since responded, winning five of their past six encounters. Locked at 6-6 in their ATP Head2Head series, they will meet again on Tuesday in the fourth round at the BNP Paribas Open.
“I’m sure we’re going to have a lot of rallies,” Medvedev said looking ahead to the clash. “It’s going to come down to who makes after 20 shots, the best shot to try to put your opponent off balance, which is not easy to do here.
“He’s coming back, he’s playing better and better. I think he’s not yet at where he was when he got injured, but every new match against a top player is an opportunity for him to bring back this level. So I’m going to have to try to play my best, and postpone it for at least [the] next tournament.”
Ahead of their 13th encounter, ATPTour.com looks at three of their past blockbusters.
Miami Open presented by Itau 2018, Second Round, Zverev d. Medvedev 6-4, 1-6, 7-6(5)
Miami was a special place for Zverev at the start of his career. It was the site of his first ATP Masters 1000 win in 2015 as well as his first Top 10 victory at the elite level in 2017 when he defeated top seed Stan Wawrinka en route to the quarter-finals.
In 2018, his second-round victory against Medvedev acted as a springboard for further success, with the German going on to reach the final (l. to Isner).
Taking a 2-0 ATP Head2Head series lead against Medvedev into the match, Zverev combined power with guile. The then-20-year-old fired 25 winners during the match and caused Medvedev trouble with his backhand slice. He forced Medvedev low and disrupted his rhythm to draw errors in the third-set tie-break, including a misfired forehand on match point.
“He’s one of the best servers on Tour,” Zverev said. “On his serve, anything can happen. I was just happy to take my chances in the tie-break and capitalise at 6/5 to win the match.”
Competing for the 200th time at tour-level, Zverev improved to 126-74 with his win.
ATP Cup 2021, SF, Medvedev d. Zverev 3-6, 6-3, 7-5
In just the first week of the 2021 season, Medvedev and Zverev met in Melbourne as they competed at the ATP Cup.
Medvedev had swept aside Diego Schwartzman and Kei Nishikori in his opening two matches of the year, while Zverev had downed Denis Shapovalov before he lost to Novak Djokovic in three sets.
Playing under the closed roof on Rod Laver Arena, Medvedev played patiently as he overcame a serving onslaught from Zverev by adjusting his return position, standing deeper behind the baseline to rally from a break down in the second set. In a tight decider, a double fault from Zverev gave Medvedev the late break at 6-5 and from there he secured victory, fending off five break points in his final service game to win.
“When it’s against Sascha and you are 6-3, 3-2 break down, many times you’re going to lose a match,” Medvedev said. “But I needed to keep my chances alive for the team first of all, for the country. I just tried to stay there, got a bit tight maybe. I just did my job and I’m really happy about it.”
Nitto ATP Finals 2021, Round Robin, Medvedev d. Zverev 6-3, 6-7(3), 7-6(6)
In one of the matches of the 2021 season, Medvedev and Zverev went blow-to-blow for two hours and 35 minutes in group play in Turin, before Medvedev once again came out on top to earn his fifth straight win against the German.
Both came into the match holding a 1-0 round-robin record after Medvedev downed Hubert Hurkacz, while Zverev had led Matteo Berrettini by a set before the Italian was forced to retire due to injury.
The pair, who also met in the round-robin stage at the season finale in 2020, struck their groundstrokes fiercely with Medvedev successfully soaking up the German’s heavy-hitting. In a tense third-set tie-break, Medvedev found a deep return on his backhand to move 6/4 ahead, but Zverev stepped up to save both match points as Medvedev attempted to serve and volley. However, it only delayed the outcome, with Medvedev sealing victory on his third match point to reach the semi-finals.
“Definitely one of the matches to remember,” Medvedev said.
Zverev quickly gained revenge, however, snapping a five-match losing streak to defeat Medvedev 6-4, 6-4 in the championship match five days later to clinch his second Nitto ATP Finals crown.
View their ATP H2H series here.