2020 ATP Finals

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Matthew Stockman / Getty Images

Daniil Medvedev (right) and Dominic Thiem (left) tapping racquets at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center after Thiem won the men’s singles semifinal match at the 2020 US Open.

By Emily Chin, Staff Writer

Known as the 2020 Nitto ATP Finals, the men’s tournament took place on Nov. 15-22, on the indoor hard courts at the 02 Arena in London. It’s the season-ending event that takes the best players and teams from the ATP Tour to play against each other. By playing in a bracket-like tournament, players have to go through three stages: round-robin, semi-finals, and finals. Last year, the singles champion was Greek player, Stefanos Tsitsipas, and doubles champions were French players, Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut. This year singles player, Daniil Medvedev, and doubles players, Nikola Mektic and Wesley Koolhof were able to secure the 2020 title.

During the singles round-robin, which lasted a full six days, the eight players got split into two groups, Tokyo 1970 and London 2020. First ranked, Novak Djokovic leads Group Tokyo 1970, which included Medvedev, Alexander Zverev, and Diego Schwartzman. While second-ranked, Rafael Nadal, led Dominic Thiem, Tsistipas, and Andrey Rublev.

The highlighted player of the round-robin had to be Medvedev. Medvedev was the only player to win all three games of the round-robin, beating Zverev, Schwartzman, and Djokovic. The Russian surprisingly was able to beat Djokovic at his own game, winning 6-3, 6-3 on Wednesday. Throughout the game, his serves were solid, and his net game was phenomenal.

Another young player who has been doing exceedingly well is Thiem. Thiem didn’t come to disappoint. It was no surprise that the 2020 US Open winner proved that he belonged at the finals. Both Medvedev and Thiem made it through the semi-finals, along with Djokovic and Nadal.

The biggest disappointment coming out of the round-robin from the doubles teams was that first seeded team, Mate Pavic and Bruno Soares, failed to reach the semi-finals. Pavic and Soares led group, Bob Bryan, while second-ranked, Australian Open champions, Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury led group, Mike Bryan.

My favorite game from the Ram and Salisbury series was against Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies. It may have been the longest doubles match of the week, lasting a full two hours and five minutes. Ultimately playing three total tie-breakers, Ram and Salisbury were able to take the first set 7-6(5), then losing the second set 6-7(4), and winning the match tie-breaker 10-4. They played smart offensively and defensively staying solid during rallies and having a strong service game. They were able to clinch their semi-finals spot due to this game.

On the emotional side, doubles team Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo ended their four-year partnership on a win. The team’s total win/lose score resulted in 1-2, and they did not move on to the semi-finals, but it was still heartbreaking to see the highly successful team finally break up.

The four games that occurred on Saturday, resulted in singles players, Medvedev (4) and Thiem (3), and doubles teams, Jürgen Melzer and Édouard Roger-Vasselin (8), and Mektic and Koolhof (5) to advance to the finals. Fans were surprised that neither first nor second-ranked players/teams made it past the semi-final round.

During the singles final on Sunday, which lasted more than two and a half hours, the game ended on a score of 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-4. Thiem came into the game strong being the dominant player up to the mid-second set. Eventually, Medvedev switched up his game causing clear frustration from Thiem. Surprisingly, Medvedev was able to outplay Thiem for both serves and forehands. In the last set, Thiem was able to grab control of the game. He was consistently ripping his backhands instead of slicing it towards the end which saved him some game points, but he still ended up short and ultimately lost. This was the second consecutive year, that Thiem had lost during the finals round.

The fifth-ranked team Mektic and Koolhof joined forces in January of this year. The 2020 ATP finals was the first title they had won as a pair during their debut season. Ending their game 6-2, 4-6, and winning the tie-breaker 10-5, a lot of their success this series came from their consistency of returns on both first and second serves.

History was made for both doubles and singles champions. Medvedev is now the fourth player to beat the world’s top three players at a singles event. He also became the first player from Russia to win the year-end championship since Nikolay Davydenko in 2009. While doubles players Koolhof becomes the fourth Dutch player to win the Nitto ATP finals doubles crown, and Mektic is the first Croatian to seize a trophy at the season finale.

After 12 years of being set in London, the next ATP final will take place in Turin, Italy from 2021 till 2025. The ATP final is the last tennis event of the year. The next major tennis event will be the 2021 Australian Open, which should be starting Jan. 18, 2021. Dates are still not finalized, and the Australian Open may be delayed three months to March of 2021.