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.”

Top-seeded Sakkari reaches semifinals at Parma Ladies Open

Maria Sakkari
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PARMA, Italy — Top-seeded Maria Sakkari rallied past 97th-ranked Maryna Zanevska 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 on Thursday at the Parma Ladies Open to reach her first semifinal since the grass-court season.

Sakkari, who has gone three sets in all three of her matches this week, will face Danka Kovinic for a spot in the final of the clay-court event after Kovinic beat Jasmine Paolini 6-4, 6-4.

In her previous semifinal, Sakkari lost to Belinda Bencic in Berlin in June. The seventh-ranked Greek player was eliminated by Wang Xiyu in the second round of the U.S. Open on Aug. 31.

In the bottom half of the draw, Mayar Sherif of Egypt beat American opponent Lauren Davis 7-6 (2), 6-3 to reach her second career semifinal. Sherif next faces Ana Bogdan, who defeated fellow Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu 6-2, 7-6 (6).

Sakkari through to Parma Open quarterfinals; Stephens loses

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PARMA, Italy — Top-seeded Maria Sakkari rallied past Arantxa Rus 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 to reach the quarterfinals of the Parma Ladies Open.

Sakkari, who accepted a late wild card to the red clay court tournament, was playing her first event since losing to Wang Xiyu in the second round of the U.S. Open.

The Greek player will next face Maryna Zanevska of Belgium after she eased past Dalma Galfi 6-1, 6-3.

Fourth-seeded Sloane Stephens of the United States, the 2017 U.S. Open champion, lost to Danka Kovinic 7-5, 2-6, 7-5.

Kovinic will face Jasmine Paolini in the quarterfinals after the Italian defeated compatriot Elisabetta Cocciaretto 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.

There will be an American in the final eight, however, as Lauren Davis rallied to beat Sara Sorribes Tormo 3-6, 6-4, 7-5. Sorribes Tormo had eliminated second-seeded Martina Trevisan in straight sets in the opening round.

Davis will play Mayar Sherif after the Egyptian player defeated Simona Waltert 6-3, 7-6 (1).

Also, third-seeded Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania eased past Italian wild card Matilde Paoletti 6-4, 6-4 to set up a quarterfinal against sixth-seeded Ana Bogdan, who beat Anna Karolina Schmiedlova 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.