Instead of No. 1 Novak Djokovic vs. No. 2 Rafael Nadal for the ATP Finals trophy, it’ll be No. 3 Dominic Thiem against No. 4 Daniil Medvedev.
Nadal had won 71 matches in a row when grabbing the opening set, and he served for the victory in Saturday’s semifinals when leading 5-4 in the second set. But Medvedev broke at love there and came all the way back to win 3-6, 7-6 (4), 6-3, claiming the last four games.
“It’s great that we managed to beat two of the biggest players in the history of the sport,” Medvedev said. “It’s super for tennis.”
Thiem frittered away four match points in his semifinal against Djokovic because he was “tight and nervous” during a second-set tiebreaker. Thiem gathered himself, though, and eventually reeled off seven of the match’s last eight points after trailing 4-0 in the last tiebreaker, winning 7-5, 6-7 (10), 7-6 (5).
“What he did from 0-4 in the third-set tiebreaker was just unreal,” said Djokovic, a 17-time Grand Slam champion. “I don’t think I played bad. ... He just crushed the ball and everything went in.”
Thiem ended Djokovic’s bid for a record-tying sixth ATP Finals trophy, while Medvedev prevented Nadal from continuing to pursue the most significant title the 20-time major champ hasn’t won.
Instead of a 57th meeting between Djokovic and Nadal, Thiem and Medvedev will face off for the fifth time. Thiem leads 3-1, including a straight-set victory in the U.S. Open semifinals in September en route to the 27-year-old Austrian’s first Grand Slam championship.
“I, for sure, can cause him some trouble,” Medvedev said.
Did that to Nadal, too.
Nadal seemed on his way to the final when he reeled off four consecutive games in the second set for a chance to serve for the match. He surprisingly stumbled.
“I played a bad game. That’s it,” said Nadal, who deflected a question about whether he had any physical issues during the match.
Once he was back in the match, Medvedev took advantage, dominating the ensuing tiebreaker with the help of a shanked lob winner, a forehand winner that concluded a 26-stroke exchange and a leaping backhand that drew a netted forehand.
Nadal couldn’t shake that off, dropping the match’s last three games as he serve-and-volleyed more than usual, sliced his backhand more than usual and made forehand errors more than usual.
Medvedev had been 0-3 against Nadal, including a five-set loss in the 2019 U.S. Open final, and the lanky 24-year-old Russian’s top-notch serve, capable backhand and willingness to hang in long baseline rallies provided Saturday’s breakthrough.
A year ago, Medvedev went 0-3 in round-robin play at the ATP Finals, while Thiem was the runner-up to Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Whoever wins Sunday on the indoor hard court — where things will be quiet because spectators are banned due to the coronavirus pandemic — will be the tournament’s sixth different champion over the past six years, the longest such stretch since 1974-79.
It was the first time since 2004 that the top four players in the rankings filled the four semifinal slots for the ATP Finals. Djokovic, already assured of finishing the year at No. 1 for a record-tying sixth time, was trying to match Roger Federer’s mark of six ATP Finals trophies.
In the second set against Djokovic, Thiem’s ace put him ahead 6-5 in the tiebreaker, one point from victory.
But Djokovic saved that initial chance with a 127 mph service winner. Thiem’s next opportunity came at 7-6; he double-faulted.
“I was, like, so tight in my whole body,” Thiem said.
The third was at 9-8, when he pushed a down-the-line forehand wide. At 10-9, Djokovic erased No. 4 with a forehand that landed right on a line.
That began a three-point run by Djokovic to steal the set.
But Thiem regrouped and his 300th career tour-level victory made him only the second man with at least five wins each against the Big Three of Djokovic (5-7 career mark), Federer (5-2) and Nadal (6-9). Andy Murray is the other.
“If you beat these guys,” Thiem said, “it gives you a huge boost of confidence.”
Note: Mate Pavic and Bruno Soares clinched the year-end No. 1 team ranking for men’s doubles when the other contenders, Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury, lost in Saturday’s semifinals to Jurgen Melzer and Edouard Roger-Vasselin.
Bangladesh Air Force played to a 2-2 draw with Bangladesh Police in the day's lone match of the President Cup Hockey Tournament at the Maulana Bhasani National Stadium here on Thursday.
National player Hasan Jubair Niloy and Rezaul Karim Ratul scored for Police while Sajib Hossain Sifat and Ashique Mahmud Sagar netted one each for Air Force.
Morsalin Ahmed of thedailysports24.com emerged champion in the chess competition of the Walton-DRU Sports Festival 2020 on Thursday.
He clinched the DRU chess crown beating Mashkayet Mashrek of Radio Today in the event's final at the Chess Federation Office in NSC building.
Mahbub Alam Khan of Newsnextbd.com finished 3rd in the event.
Earlier, Executive Director of the meet's sponsor Walton Group FM Iqbal Bin Anwar inaugurated the meet at a function, chaired by DRU President Rafiqul Islam Azad.
DRU Sports Secretary Mojibur Rahman was also present on the occasion.
It’s official: The NBA is coming back Dec. 22.
The NBA’s board of governors unanimously approved Tuesday the financial terms and other parameters that were negotiated between the league and its players. Those talks were completed late Monday night, when the league and National Basketball Players Association announced they are in agreement on a revised collective bargaining agreement for this coming season — setting the stage for a frenzied few weeks before games resume.
Teams will play a 72-game schedule, which will be revealed in the coming weeks. The league said a new system will be used to ensure that the split of basketball-related income continues, one of the biggest deals that had to be worked out with the union because the current agreement between the sides had a great deal of language that needed reworking because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Negotiations with free agents will be allowed to begin at 6 p.m. on Nov. 20, with signings permitted starting at 12:01 p.m. on Nov. 22 — an extraordinarily fast window for the NBA, which typically has about a week spanning the start of talks and the beginning of signings. But with training camps this year beginning Dec. 1, both sides evidently feel there isn’t a need to draw out the process any longer than necessary.
Many rosters could be considerably reshaped by then, with trades likely to be permissible again in the coming days — the exact details there still being worked out — and the NBA draft set to take place Nov. 18. Player and team options likely will be settled around that same time. Free agency starts two days after the draft, with around 100 players set for unrestricted status.
The salary cap and tax level will remain unchanged. The cap was $109.14 million this past season, with the tax level at $132,627,000. The real numbers will be affected by the shortened schedule — last year’s numbers were based on the standard 82-game season, a threshold that won’t be reached this year.
The salary cap for 2021-22 is guaranteed to rise somewhere between 3% and 10%, the league said, which means it’ll be somewhere between $112.4 million and $120.1 million.
Meyers Leonard, a free-agent-to-be who spent this past season with the Miami Heat and served as the team’s player rep to the NBPA, said he had some concerns about getting all the logistical matters completed in time for a Dec. 22 opening night. He resumed his offseason workouts Monday after he and his wife took a 4,000-mile tour-bus trip arranged by Coors Light from Miami to Los Angeles with many stops along the way.
“Without knowing all the ins and outs, Dec. 22nd, from a money standpoint, you play more games, you play your Christmas games, it probably makes sense,” Leonard said. “But there’s a lot of logistical things that I know cannot be easy. And the discussions that are being had are very dynamic and very difficult conversations.”
There are countless other issues to work out, such as all the health and safety protocols now that games won’t be played in the safety of a bubble and teams will be traveling to various cities once again. And those talks are continuing, the league said.
Players were tested daily in the bubble, and nobody tested positive because of the very strict protocols. It’ll be much tougher to avoid a COVID-related issue with the league back to some sort of normalcy this season.
“There’s going to be people testing positive,” Leonard said. “I don’t know about left and right, but it’s going to happen. And then what happens? It’s a tough time we’re all dealing with. The disease is very strange. It’s going to be interesting to see how the league rolls with the punches, so to speak.”
One of those punches arrived Tuesday night, when the New York Knicks closed their training facility after three employees tested positive for COVID-19. The team said it was shutting down for cleaning purposes and that the employees are in quarantine.
So with that, an offseason that just started for some teams already seems over.
For the NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers and Eastern Conference champion Heat, it will be the shortest offseason in NBA history — with seven weeks separating the end of the NBA Finals and the planned Dec. 1 start of training camp.
But for the eight teams that didn’t make the restart bubble at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Florida this summer, it has been a marathon offseason, with none of those teams — Atlanta, Chicago, Cleveland, Charlotte, Golden State, Minnesota, New York and Detroit — having played since the second week of March. The NBA shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic on March 11, then took 22 of its 30 teams to Disney to resume the season in July.
The Knicks’ Bobby Portis hasn’t played in a game since the night the pandemic forced the shutdown.
“Ready to hoop again,” he tweeted Tuesday.
Grand Master Enamul Hossain Razib of Bangladesh finished 4th in Open Premier group of the 49th Annual Continental Online Chess Competition in the tie breaker that concluded on Sunday.
GM Razib earned 5 points from 7 games to make a tie for the runner-up position, but in the tie-breaking system, he became 4th.
The event was held in online chess platform ICC from November 6-8, organised by Continental Chess Association.
GM Razib won against Rut Singi Reddy in the 3rd round, Rajanish Adhva in the 5th round and GM Timur Gareyev in the 6th round.
But, Razib settled for draw in the remaining four matches including one against GM Jaime Santos Latasa of Spain in the 7th and last round.
GM Razib will receive 400 US dollars as prize money.
IM Hans Moke Niemann of USA became champion securing six points.