Medvedev Powers His Way Past Shapovalov To Win First Vienna Title

Denis Shapovalov and Daniil Medvedev (photo: e-motion/Bildagentur Zolles KG/Christian Hofer)

VIENNA/WASHINGTON, October 30, 2022 ( by Michael Dickens)

With the pressure of qualifying for next month’s Nitto ATP Finals in Turin behind him, Daniil Medvedev was able to come out free swinging against Denis Shapovalov in the title match of the ATP 500 Erste Bank Open in Vienna Sunday afternoon.

Playing in his fifth final of the season, the World No. 4 and top-seeded Russian was looking to add to his earlier title won at Los Cabos. Meanwhile, the 19th-ranked Shapovalov was appearing in his sixth career ATP Tour final but first at the 500 level. He had won one career title (Stockholm in 2019) and hoped to continue his steady run, which already included a Top 10 win over No. 4 seed Taylor Fritz earlier in the week in the Austrian capital city.

The Vienna title match between the 26-year-old Medvedev and Shapovalov, 23, was their sixth meeting overall but first in an ATP Tour final. The former No. 1 came into the championship tussle ahead 3-2 in their head-to-head meetings and had won the last three – all in straight sets. It was the second final in a month for Shapovalov, who lost a recent title final in Seoul.

While there was little doubt that Medvedev would prevail in the end – relying upon his intensity and the depth and breadth of his offensive prowess – nevertheless, the two competitors put on quite a good show for the Austrian fans. By the end, Medvedev won 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 for his first Vienna title that was also his second ATP Tour title of the season and the 15th Tour crown of his career. It was Medvedev’s biggest title since winning the 2021 US Open.

“I am really happy,” Medvedev said during an on-court interview with ATP media before the trophy ceremony. “This match was the best of the week because Denis was really playing unreal until probably 4-3 in the second set. He dropped his level by maybe two percent and I was able to use it. This is one of the best victories when you know your opponent is on top of you, but you try and stay there and do what you can.”

Shapovalov took an early 2-1 lead with a break of Medvedev – the first time the Russian had been broken all week after holding serve in 36 straight service games this week, facing only one break point – by hitting a nifty sixth-shot forehand volley winner that was a stunner. He consolidated the break, then broke Medvedev, again, to take a double-break 4-1 lead. While his patience and finesse had a calming effect on Medvedev, Shapovalov came to play. Although, Medvedev recovered one of the breaks in the next game with a service winner on game point, soon, Shapovalov found himself serving for the set, ahead 5-4.

With a set point at 40-30, Shapovalov hit a third-shot forehand wide for deuce. Next, he won a 19-shot rally with an opportunistic forehand winner to gain a second set point. However, he muffed on an easy forehand return and found himself at deuce, again. On his third set point, though, Shapovalov won the 49-minute set with a brilliant backhand volley winner coming into the net. It was his 21st winner of the match and his fifth from the backhand side.

As the second set developed, Medvedev got the first break to go ahead 3-1. He consolidated it in the next game for a 4-1 lead after saving four break points while enduring a six-deuce, 18-point game that ended with Shapovalov netting a second-shot forehand following a 12-minute standoff. Then, after a love hold by the Canadian No. 2, Shapovalov got back on serve with his third break of Medvedev. However, the breaks of serve were coming fast and furious – and this time, it was Medvedev who broke back at love to go ahead 5-3. Serving for the set, he worked fast and won on his first opportunity with a third-shot winner – his seventh of the set – to put it away after 45 minutes.

In the decider, at 1-all, Medvedev sliced his way to a break at love to go up 2-1 that left Shapovalov screaming at his team out of frustration during the third-game changeover. Then, Medvedev held for 3-1 as he became more aggressive in his returns. Quickly, it became one-way traffic as Shapovalov faced a break point at love-40 in the fifth game. He saved it in a 22-shot rally after Medvedev netted a backhand. But the Russian showed his grit and determination in breaking Shapovalov for the fifth time during the match for a 4-1 advantage that gave him some breathing room.

Medvedev asserted himself in his next service game by winning it at love with a service winner. It gave him a comfortable 5-1 advantage and left Shapovalov shaking his head in amazement.

Next, facing another break point that was also a match point, Shapovalov surprised everyone by saving three match points, and won the 10-point game with a forehand winner, his 37th of the match. Still, he remained a double break down with time running out.

Finally, after Shapovalov dug deep and managed to save three more match points, Medvedev closed out the set and the match on his seventh match point try. Coming on the 15th shot of the last rally, Medvedev surprised everyone – especially Shapovalov – by slicing a forehand drop shot. By the time Shapovalov reacted, he weakly hit a forehand return on the run, coming in, that was caught by the net.

The two-hour, 16-minute victory for Medvedev came after he withstood 41 winners from Shapovalov, including 26 from the Canadian’s forehand side. He responded with 23 winners of his own and outpointed Shapovalov 97-81.

“I like to play indoor hard courts at the end of the season,” said Medvedev, who will rise to World No. 3 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings on Monday. “I feel that I do a great job with my team not to arrive burnt out. I am looking forward to the last two tournaments of the year, which are really important and I usually play well.”

That would be in Bercy, France at the Rolex Paris Masters and in Turin, Italy at the Nitto ATP Finals, which Medvedev was referring to.

At the end of Sunday’s match in Vienna, Medvedev and Shapovalov shared a friendly hug at the net and both walked off knowing they gave it their best while providing everyone inside the sold-out Wiener Stadthalle an exciting afternoon of entertainment.

Austrians Erler and Miedler win second ATP Tour doubles title

Austrian wild cards Alexander Erler and Lucas Miedler completed a highly successful run to their second ATP Tour title Sunday and it gave their fans plenty to cheer about. In front of their home country fans, Erler and Miedler beat Santiago Gonzalez of Mexico and Andres Molteni of Argentina, 6-3, 7-6 (1), in one hour and 21 minutes. They completed a clean sweep of their four Vienna matches, winning all in straight sets. It came after back-to-back first-round losses in Florence and Antwerp in their two previous events.

Last year, in their first ATP Tour-level event, Erler and Miedler won their first title at Kitzbühel. They have won seven Challenger Tour finals, including four this year: Ostrava, Tampere, Como and Tulln.

The Austrians (Erler is ranked 75th and Miedler 81st) combined for four aces and won 89 percent of their first-serve points against Gonzalez and Molteni. They converted one break point in the opening set and saved the only break point they faced. Erler and Miedler outpointed their opponents 72-48.

“I feel really good,” said Erler, who turned 25 during the tournament. “It was an amazing atmosphere and a great match. I am really happy. Last year we won Kitzbühel and this year Vienna. It is amazing and I am really happy about that.”

Miedler added: “The start was unbelievable. We came out of the locker room and we just hit the ball and I couldn’t really miss, which helped a lot. Then, with the crowd, it gave us a special high.”

Erler and Miedler will share first-prize money of €144,300 plus they earned 500 ATP Rankings points each.

Around the Erste Bank Open

The Erste Bank Open set an attendance record as more than 70,000 fans attended the ATP 500 event at Wiener Stadthalle and the Glaubanich Court at Erste Bank Open 2 Go on the premises of the Wiener Eislauf-Verein at the Heumarkt.

Erste Bank Open

Erste Bank Open tournament director Herwig Straka (photo: e-motion/Bildagentur Zolles KG/Christian Hofer)

During a Sunday press conference, Erste Bank Open tournament director Herwig Straka spoke positively of the week. He said: “A few years ago, we could only dream of such an attendance, but now it’s reality. This didn’t come out of the blue. We invested a lot of work to get here. Also, the support from our sponsors and partners was invaluable.

“By becoming the ATP 500 tournament of the year 2021, we also aroused the interest of important decision makers in tennis. The complete ATP leadership, the director of the ATP Masters 1000 tournament in Madrid and representatives from the tournament in Basel, which is played during the same week, have come to visit in the past days. It is important, that we also get the recognition in Austria, but in the meantime the Erste Bank Open are being televised in 170 countries.

“The name of the city of Vienna is going around the world. The positive statements from the players about the good food and the Austrian hospitality are topping off the positive picture of the Erste Bank Open.”

By the numbers

Denis Shapovalov has a 27-15 record on hard courts this season, compared to 4-4 on clay and 1-4 on grass.

“Quotable …”

“It’s super tough. I’ve struggled with him in the last couple of matches that we’ve played. He’s an extremely difficult opponent to play against. He bothers a lot of guys, so it’s going to be a difficult matchup, [but] I’m confident in myself, I think I’m playing some really good tennis. I’m going to take it to him and battle my heart out.”

– World No. 19 Denis Shapovalov of Canada on the prospect of facing World No. 4 and top seed Daniil Medvedev in the final, spoken during his post-match remarks Saturday.