2023 In Review: Daniil Medvedev provides Novak Djokovic's first loss

Daniil Medvedev defeated Novak Djokovic in the Dubai semi-final

by Jovica Ilic
2023 In Review: Daniil Medvedev provides Novak Djokovic's first loss
© Francois Nel / Staff - Getty Images Sport

World no. 1 Novak Djokovic saught his third ATP title of the season in Dubai. The Serb reached the semi-final and experienced the first defeat in 2023, falling to Daniil Medvedev 6-4, 6-4 in an hour and 35 minutes. An in-form Russian reached his third consecutive ATP final, conquering Rotterdam and Doha and keeping that pace in Dubai.

Daniil scored his fifth victory over Novak from 14 duels and the first since the 2021 US Open final. Medvedev broke Djokovic three times, taking charge from the middle of the opening set and gaining a boost. Novak's serve had been working well since the start of the season, but it was not the case in this duel, as Daniil found the winning formula and made the difference.

Medvedev got broken once in the opener while in front, keeping the world's best player away from more opportunities. Novak grabbed the encounter's first game with a volley winner, and Daniil responded with a booming serve a few minutes later for 1-1.

Daniil Medvedev ousted Novak Djokovic in the Dubai semi-final.

Djokovic held at love in game three with an ace, looking good to fight for his 16th straight win in 2023. However, Medvedev was ready to challenge him, firing an ace in game four and locking the result at 2-2 after 11 minutes.

Novak denied a break point in game five and squandered a game point. Daniil created the second break chance and seized it after Novak's slice error, moving 3-2 in front and gaining a boost. Medvedev cemented the lead with a fine hold in game six, landing a service winner for 4-2.

Djokovic played another loose service game, netting a volley at the net and falling 5-2 behind. Daniil served for the set in game eight, and Novak delivered his only break of serve to prolong the action and his chances. World no.

1 held at love in game nine, reducing the deficit to 5-4 before Medvedev came from 15-30 in the next one, wrapping up the opening set with a forehand winner for 6-4 after 39 minutes. Novak experienced another blow at the beginning of the second set, squandering a 40-15 lead and placing a backhand beyond the baseline to suffer his third break of serve.

Daniil held at love in game two with a booming serve and closed the fourth after deuce for 3-1. The sixth game saw another deuce, and Medvedev held after Djokovic's rushed forehand. Novak held at love in game seven and made another push on the return in the next one, reaching deuce with a powerful forehand.

The Russian stayed focused and held with an ace, moving 5-3 in front and closer to the finish line. Novak survived the ninth game after standing two points away from losing, with Daniil serving for the victory at 5-4. An in-form player made no mistakes in the tenth game, earning a match point after a fantastic point and seizing it with a forehand winner, extending his streak and reaching the final.

Daniil Medvedev Novak Djokovic