Medvedev, the long-limbed world No. Four from Russia, had misplaced his first three conferences with the 20-time Grand Slam champion and appeared on the right track for a fourth with Nadal serving for the match at 5-Four within the second set.
But the 24-year-old, who didn’t beat Nadal from 5-1 up within the deciding set right here final yr, broke to like and accomplished an excellent fightback, profitable 3-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-Three in two hours and 36 minutes.
The consequence introduced an finish to one of many longest present streaks in tennis, with Nadal dropping a match after profitable the primary set for the primary time since February 2019. He had gained all 71 matches from that place since a loss to Nick Kyrgios in Acapulco.
But Medvedev, who gained the final Masters 1000 occasion of the season in Paris-Bercy, has confirmed himself to be a wily competitor and stays the one unbeaten participant at this yr’s match after coming by way of an evening of tactical warfare in an empty O2 Arena.
Regardless of the consequence on Sunday night, this occasion could have a brand new champion and the sixth totally different winner in six final years on the O2 earlier than a transfer to Turin.
Thiem – who beat Djokovic earlier on Saturday – is into his second final, having misplaced in a deciding set tiebreak to Stefanos Tsitsipas final yr.
The pair have met as soon as this yr, with Thiem profitable a semi-final conflict on the US Open in three tight sets on his method to profitable a primary main title.
But Medvedev could have an opportunity to earn revenge in his final match of the season after a heroic win over Nadal.
Nadal was pressured to dig deep first. In the third recreation of the match, Medvedev – whose capacity to information the ball into awkward positions on the stretch by no means fails to astound – had three probabilities to interrupt that have been saved by the world No. 2 from Spain, two of which have been unreturned serves.
It was Nadal who was doing a lot of the leg work. After six video games, the typical size of his service video games was 5 minutes longer than Medvedev’s.
Medvedev, who misplaced all his matches on his debut right here a yr in the past, had made his first 16 serves however out of nowhere Nadal pounced and broke to like because the Russian despatched a forehand lengthy. After 47 minutes, he had a one-set lead.
The world No. 2 from Spain not often loses after dropping the primary set. Indeed, he had gained all 24 matches when profitable the opener this season.
But Medvedev responded effectively, breaking at the beginning of the second set courtesy of a double fault from the opposite facet of the online as he raced right into a 3-Zero lead.
Nadal was pressured to outlive one other break level within the sixth recreation of the second set and it proved expensive for Medvedev.
After nearly transferring 5-1 up with a double break within the earlier recreation, Nadal struck again and was quickly degree at 4-4.
He reeled off his fifth recreation in a row to serve for the match however was damaged to like in a shock accident.
Medvedev was quickly degree. A remarkably fortuitous shank cruelly lobbed Nadal to place the Russian in complete management at 5-3 and he made no mistake in seeing it out.
Nadal held agency underneath extra strain from Medvedev at the beginning of the decider, saving a break level.
In the seventh recreation, he discovered an ace down the T to avoid wasting a second break level and then a one-two punch to disclaim Medvedev a 3rd time within the third set.
But he couldn’t deny him a fourth time and Medvedev smashed dwelling as he broke and went on to seal a shocking victory.
It was a painful defeat for Britain’s Joe Salisbury earlier within the doubles.
He and American companion Rajeev Ram have been crushed 6-7 (4-7) 6-3 11-9 by Jurgen Melzer and Edouard Roger-Vasselin.
The Anglo-American pair had match level within the match tiebreak – which they led 7-1 – had they transformed it they might have completed the season because the top-ranked doubles pairing.
Reflecting on his season, Australian Open champion Salisbury stated: ‘Obviously it was a great start. Since we started again we haven’t accomplished badly, I feel. But I additionally don’t really feel like we now have accomplished that effectively both, as a result of I feel we misplaced a pair shut matches in Grand Slams which I assumed we may have gained.
‘The end of the season was tough. To be honest I think we did quite well to get to the semi-final here, because I don’t assume we performed very effectively.
‘Obviously it’s robust dropping that, however I don’t actually really feel like we deserved to be within the final how we now have performed this week. I imply, we now have come by way of a few tiebreaks, however I don’t assume our degree has been that good.
‘We still should have won that match, but, yeah, we can definitely play a lot better.’
Mate Pavic and Bruno Soares – who will reunite with Britain’s Jamie Murray subsequent season – will finish the yr on the high of the leaderboard.
Melzer – who will retire after Sunday’s final – and Roger-Vasselin will face Nikola Mektic and Wesley Koolhof.
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