Medvedev ends Djokovic's perfect start to season to set up Dubai final with Rublev

Russian third seed defeats world No 1 6-4, 6-4 to reach his third straight final

Daniil Medvedev has won 12 matches in a row after beating Novak Djokovic in the Dubai semi-finals. AFP
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In a match between the two current best players in the world, Daniil Medvedev issued yet another reminder of his return to form by defeating world No 1 Novak Djokovic in the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships semi-finals on Friday.

Both players entered this blockbuster clash on Centre Court in sensational form, Djokovic riding a 15-match unbeaten start to the season which has seen the Serb claim the Adelaide International title, win a record 10th Australian Open trophy, and return to world No 1 - a position he has now held for a record 378 weeks.

Medvedev, meanwhile, had won his past 11 matches, collecting titles in Rotterdam and Doha in his two most recent tournaments, the Russian very much back to the ruthless form which saw him reach the top of the rankings last year and win the 2021 US Open.

Something had to give, and it was Medvedev who emerged victorious claiming his first win against Djokovic since the 2021 US Open final with a superb 6-4, 6-4 win to reach the final and keep alive his bid for a third straight title in as many tournaments.

"Every time I beat Novak it's an amazing feeling," Medvedev, 27, said. "He's probably the greatest tennis player of all time, or at least one of the two or three.

"Every time I manage to beat him, it's amazing. Of course, beating him in the US Open final was my best memory because that's my only Slam. To beat someone like him in the final is just a dream come true and forever in my memories.

"But it's always pleasure to beat him. When I say this, it's not in a greedy way, it's just that every time it gives you an extra boost of confidence, like, wow, I was able to beat Novak, I can for sure beat anybody."

Medvedev, who spent 16 weeks as world No 1 last year, had a minor slip down the rankings after a run of poor results at the end of the 2022 season but he is very much back to his best.

Next up for the third seed is an intriguing match-up against compatriot and long-time friend Andrey Rublev in the final.

The defending champion recorded his first win over Alexander Zverev at the sixth attempt in Friday's first semi-final, Rublev defeating the German seventh seed 6-3, 7-6.

Rublev lost his first four matches against Medvedev but has since beaten his fellow Russian in their two most recent meetings.

Updated: March 03, 2023, 6:25 PM