Rafael Nadal and Daniil Medvedev played against each other thrice within a couple of months in 2019, with the young Russian making the Spaniard run for his money! Starting the season from just outside the top-15, Daniil won the title in Sofia and reached the semis in Rotterdam and Monte Carlo before reaching the Barcelona Open final.
After five straight losses on clay and grass, Daniil found his form on hard court from the end of July, competing in Washington as the top-10 player for the first time. Medvedev would reach six straight ATP finals, playing in the title matches at the Masters 1000 and a Major level and improving his ranking position.
Nadal dropped huge praise on the young Russian at the end of the season, impressed by what he saw from Daniil in the second part of 2019, finishing inside the top-5 and scoring the most wins on the Tour. Daniil claimed two Masters 1000 crowns and gave his 120% in the US Open title clash against Nadal, losing in five sets after almost five hours of incredible tennis.
Rafael Nadal praised Daniil Medvedev after facing him thrice in 2019.
Rafa and Daniil shared the court three times in 2019. The Spaniard dominated the Canadian Masters final to lift the trophy in 70 minutes thanks to a 6-3, 6-0 win, leaving the youngster empty-handed in his first Masters 1000 final.
Medvedev bounced back to win the title in Cincinnati and stayed on the winning course at the US Open despite fatigue, having a chance to claim the Major crown against a former champion Nadal. In the end, Rafa used everything he had in his arsenal to deliver a 7-5, 6-3, 5-7, 4-6, 6-4 triumph and celebrate the 19th Major title, just in front of an inspired rival who almost made a complete comeback in the final set.
The third meeting between these two rivals came at the ATP Finals in November, with world no. 1 prevailing 6-7, 6-3, 7-6 after two hours and 46 minutes, fending off a match point while trailing 5-1 in the decider with a perfect drop shot and battling back to cross the finish line first.
Not ready to give up, Nadal climbed back to 5-5 with a break at 30 in game ten and claimed the tie break 7-4 to perform one of his best turnarounds in the last couple of years. "Daniil has had the exceptional second half of the season.
It is not easy to reach so many consecutive finals and win the tournaments he did. I think it was awe-inspiring, and my matches against him were tough," Rafael Nadal said.