Daniil Medvedev returns to Dubai a year after beating Novak Djokovic

Daniil Medvedev will seek the title defense in Dubai next month

by Jovica Ilic
Daniil Medvedev returns to Dubai a year after beating Novak Djokovic
© Francois Nel / Staff - Getty Images Sport

World no. 3 and the defending Dubai champion will lead the field at the ATP 500 event from February 26. Daniil will compete in Dubai for the fourth time, debuting in 2017 and experiencing early losses during his first two trips to the desert.

The Russian changed that in 2023, toppling five rivals in straight sets en route to the trophy, including world no. 1 Novak Djokovic! Daniil and Novak met in the semi-final, and the Russian scored a 6-4, 6-4 triumph in an hour and 35 minutes, delivering the Serb's first loss of the season.

It was Medvedev's first win over Djokovic since the 2021 US Open final, providing three breaks and losing serve once while already standing in front. Daniil broke in the encounter's fifth game, with Novak missing a game point and netting a slice to fall 3-2 behind.

Djokovic suffered another break in game seven after netting a volley, finding himself 5-2 down. Novak pulled one break back in game eight and held at love in the next one, reducing the deficit to 5-4.

Daniil Medvedev will seek the Dubai title defense in February.

Medvedev fired a forehand winner in the tenth game, taking it 6-4 after 39 minutes.

Djokovic played another loose service game at the beginning of the second set, squandering a 40-15 lead and suffering a break after a wayward backhand. The Russian clinched the sixth game after deuce for 4-2 and secured another tricky game for a 5-3 advantage.

Djokovic served to stay in the match in game nine and held after deuce to prolong the battle. However, Medvedev landed a crafty winner at the net at 5-4 for a match point. Daniil converted it with a forehand winner, ousting Novak and moving into the title clash.

He met fellow Russian Andrey Rublev in a battle for the trophy and earned a dominant 6-2, 6-2 triumph in 68 minutes, lifting his third ATP title in as many weeks! It was their seventh encounter, and Medvedev celebrated his fifth victory after a rock-solid display.

Daniil Medvedev, Dubai 2023© Francois Nel / Staff - Getty Images Sport

The older Russian controlled the pace in his games, firing nine aces and dropping eight points in eight service games. Rublev created no break chances and felt the pressure behind the initial shot.

Andrey gave away half of the points in his games and suffered four breaks from seven opportunities offered to his rival, never standing as a serious contender. Medvedev tamed his strokes nicely and overpowered his great friend in the shortest and mid-range exchanges.

Daniil and Andrey could arrange another clash in Dubai this year, with the organizers confirming Rublev, Karen Khachanov and Hubert Hurkacz before revealing an entire field.

Daniil Medvedev Novak Djokovic