Jannik Sinner defeats Daniil Medvedev in the Vienna Open Final as he continues his exceptional end to the ATP season.
Up until the Beijing Open earlier this month, Jannik Sinner had never defeated Daniil Medvedev. He now has two wins against the Russian in their last two meetings following victory in the Vienna Open final.
Many will have thought of last season as the year when people started to take notice of Jannik Sinner’s talent and potential. But talent can only get you so far and, 2023 has been the year Sinner became a winner.
Sinner now has two ATP 500 titles and one masters title in 2023 and has fully established himself as one of the best players in the world.
Unlike the man destined to be his long-term rival, Carlos Alcaraz, Jannik Sinner’s rise to the top has been steady, but the progress has always been evident.
With a tall and wiry frame, it always appeared that Sinner needed more physical development to properly compete with the top players. But as we approach the end of the 2023 season, it is clear that Sinner's development is almost complete.
In recent months a sizeable gap has emerged between the top four players in the world (Djokovic, Alcaraz, Medvedev and Sinner) and the rest of the top ten. With Djokovic and Alcaraz seeming to take the majority of the last few months off, their focus being the ATP finals, Sinner and Medvedev have been the two best players on tour.
The top two seeds at the Vienna Open met in the final after both dispatching of their semi-final opponents with relative ease (Sinner def Rublev and Medvedev def Tsitsipas).
2023 really has delivered some truly exceptional finals, and the Vienna Open was no exception.
A razor tight set one was decided by a tie break, which went the way of Sinner 9-7. Both players had brough up set points in the breaker, a sign of their matched abilities.
It didn’t take long for Medvedev to put his missed opportunities behind him as he stormed to a 5-2 lead in the second set. Despite Sinner getting one break back, Medvedev cashed in on his early success and saw out the set 6-4.
In a pulsating decider, Sinner demonstrated some of his recently developed power by crushing a collection of enormous forehands past his opponent, no mean feat considering Medvedev's renowned returned game.
This incredible hitting gave Sinner a sizeable cushion in the decider as he stood on top of 5-2 set lead. Serving to stay in the match, Medvedev looked defeated as Sinner brought up a match point. But the Italian dropped his backhand into the net and gave Medvedev a lifeline.
After holding his serve to make it 5-3, Medvedev went on the attack. After some fantastic hitting of his own, and some Sinner nerves, Medvedev brought up two break points giving him the opportunity to level the set.
If he could take them.
At 15-40 Medvedev dominated the point, pushing Sinner onto the back foot. But after a poorly placed drop shot from Sinner, Medvedev seemingly had the whole court to aim at but sent his forehand inexcusably long.
It appeared that Medvedev had missed his chance as shortly after Sinner saved the second break point, and then brought up his second match point after getting the better of a monstrous rally. Sinner smashed down an unreturned serve to close out the match, taking the deciding set 6-3.
Victory in Vienna marked Sinner’s third ATP 500, or higher, title in as many months and demonstrated that his development into one of the world’s top players was complete.
A trade mark of Sinner’s charge to the title was the consistency of his serve, with his first serve percentages being amongst the highest in the competition. The Italian has developed into one of the biggest strikers on tour, and the power of his ground strokes is only matched by the consistency with which he lands his bombs in opposition territory.
Much has been made of Alcaraz, but with every passing week it looks as if Sinner is very much his equal.
The only question is: is his development finished, or is he going to get better?