Medvedev wins Shanghai Masters for fourth title of the year

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SHANGHAI — Daniil Medvedev extended the form that made him the hottest player in men’s tennis when he captured the Shanghai Masters title with a 6-4, 6-1 win over Alexander Zverev on Sunday.

The third-seeded Medvedev picked up his third title in six consecutive finals played since the tour returned to hard courts after Wimbledon in July. He also won the Masters 1000-level tournament in Cincinnati and the St. Petersburg trophy in that stretch.

Last month, Medvedev also made it to his first Grand Slam final at the U.S. Open where he challenged Rafael Nadal through five sets before the Spaniard secured his career 19th Grand Slam trophy.

“It’s something outrageous what I’ve done in the last few months,” Medvedev said on the court after his win. “I wouldn’t have believed it.”

In the press conference, Medvedev tried to explain what has changed to improve his results.

“Something clicked in my game in USA,” he said. “I don’t know why. I think it’s just the hard work that I have been doing.

“But I started to understand even more about my game, even more I would say about my serve, about my volley, about everything, like kind of what do I have to do when?”

The 23-year-old Medvedev is currently 29-3 in matches played in the past six tournaments.

Medvedev leads the 2019 ATP Tour season in four categories. He’s won the most matches at 59, won the most hard court matches at 46, won the most matches at Masters 1000 tournaments at 22, and reached the most finals at nine with four titles captured.

Medvedev and the 22-year-old Zverev are the youngest finalists at an ATP Masters 1000 event since a 22-year-old Novak Djokovic defeated a 23-year-old Gael Monfils at the 2009 Paris tournament.

The fifth-seeded Zverev had won all four of his previous encounters against Medvedev, but all of those matches were played prior to this year, which has seen the Russian become nearly invincible of late.

“As I said yesterday you’re probably the best player in the world right now and it’s unbelievable,” Zverev said to Medvedev during the on-court ceremony. “All the best to you.”

Zverev presented Medvedev with two gifts – back-to-back double faults at 30-30 in the 10th game – to enable the Russian to secure the first set 6-4.

Earlier in the first set, Medvedev led 3-0, but Zverev was able to recoup that first service break on a fifth break point on the Russian’s serve in the fifth game.

Clearly the two double faults shook any confidence Zverev might have had in the match. He quickly fell behind 5-0 before the German won his lone game in the second set.

The Russian served out the 73-minute match with an ace to capture his first career victory over Zverev.

“Confidence was the biggest factor today,” Zverev said. “He’s way more confident that I am.

“To beat a player like him you have to have confidence and you have to be playing better for a longer period of time and not just for one week.”

U.S. sweeps Uzbekistan, advances to group stage in Davis Cup

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The United States swept its way into the group stage of the Davis Cup Finals, getting the winning point in a 4-0 victory over Uzbekistan from the doubles team of Rajeev Ram and Austin Krajicek.

They beat Sergey Fomin and Sanjar Fayziev 6-2, 6-4, after Tommy Paul and Mackenzie McDonald had won singles matches in Tashkent.

Ram is No. 3 in the ATP Tour doubles rankings and partnered with Joe Salisbury to win the last two U.S. Open men’s doubles titles. But the Americans opted not to use Ram last year in the final round, when they dropped the doubles match in a 2-1 defeat against Italy in the quarterfinals.

Krajicek was making his Davis Cup debut, having reached No. 9 in the doubles rankings late last year.

“They had five great days of preparation, and as anticipated they came out really sharp and got the early break in the first set. And after that it was like two freight trains, there was no stopping them,” interim captain David Nainkin said.

Denis Kudla then beat Amir Milushev 6-4, 6-4.

The winners of the 12 qualifiers being held this weekend advance to the Davis Cup Finals group stage in September, along with reigning champion Canada, 2022 runner-up Australia and wild-card recipients Italy and Spain.

Eight teams will advance to the closing matches of the Davis Cup Finals scheduled for Nov. 21-26 in Malaga, Spain.

In other matches:

France 3, Hungary 2: On indoor hard courts in Tatabanya, Hungary, Ugo Humbert won it for the French with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Fabian Marozsan. Adrian Mannarino had forced the deciding match by beating Marton Fucsovics 7-6 (6), 6-2.

Serbia 4, Norway 0: On indoor hard courts in Oslo, the visitors, playing without top-ranked Novak Djokovic, put away the match when Filip Krajinovic and Nikola Cacic edged Viktor Durasovic and Herman Hoeyeraal 6-4, 3-6, 6-3. Hamad Medjedovic then outlasted Durasovic 6-4, 6-7, 10-4.

Sweden 3, Bosnia 1: On indoor hard courts in Stockholm, Mikael Ymer sent the hosts through by beating Damir Dzumhur 6-1, 1-6, 6-3.

Lesia Tsurenko to face Zhu Lin in Thailand Open final

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HUA HIN, Thailand — Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine reached her first final in four years after the top-seeded Bianca Andreescu retired with a shoulder injury during their semifinal match at the Thailand Open.

Tsurenko, in search of her fifth WTA title, was leading the 2019 U.S. Open champion 7-5, 4-0 when the Canadian stopped playing.

The former world No. 23 fought from 3-5 down to take the first set and reeled off eight straight games before Andreescu retired with a right shoulder problem.

“Bianca is such an amazing player. She is capable of hitting all kinds of shots and gave so much trouble today,” said the 33-year-old Tsurenko, now ranked 136th. “But I was just fighting and I told myself positive things that I can do it. Unfortunately, she had to retire.”

The Ukrainian last lifted a WTA trophy in Acapulco in 2018 and hasn’t been to a final since Brisbane in 2019.

She will face Zhu Lin of China in the final.

“She had some good wins in the Australian Open,” Tsurenko said. “She is one of the dangerous players in this tournament. She is going to give a good fight.”

In the all-Chinese semifinal earlier, Zhu benefited from a barrage of unforced errors from Wang Xinyu and prevailed 6-2, 6-4 for her first WTA final.

The world No. 54 player, who reached the last 16 at the Australian Open in January, relied on her solid baseline game to force errors.

“It was very windy, so I tried to be patient and keep my first serves in,” said the 29-year-old Zhu, who will team up with Wang in the doubles final against Hao-Ching Chan and Fang-Hsien Wu of Taiwan.