ATP finals: Medvedev and Zverev win; Berrettini injured

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Strong serve and consistent base play prompted US Open champion Daniil Medvedev to win 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-4 over first-time qualifier Hubert Hurkacz in the opening match of the finals ATP on Sunday.

In the second game of the day, 2018 champion Alexander Zverev won when local favorite Matteo Berrettini retired early in the second set with an apparent abdominal injury.

Zverev won the first set 7-6 (7) and was 1-0 up in the second when Berrettini dropped his racket, covered his face and bent over in apparent pain.

“The atmosphere was one of the best I’ve ever experienced in my life, which is why I feel so bad right now,” said Berrettini. “The worst thing that could have happened has happened.”

The result put Zverev ahead of Medvedev in the lead of the Red Group in the round robin format.

Medvedev, the reigning year-end champion for the top eight players, served 15 aces and didn’t face a single break point against seventh-seeded Hurkacz, who beat him in five sets at Wimbledon this year.

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Medvedev attributed his strong service performance to conditions he called the fastest he has ever experienced on tour.

“I don’t think it’s the surface itself because (the) surface is probably exactly the same as London,” said the Russian, referring to the previous host of the tournament. “I think it’s a combination of air, which is really dry here, and I think the ball goes very fast in the air, the balls themselves, which are pretty fast balls, and the court.

“I was barely under pressure on my serve against a big return,” added Medvedev. “And the same for me, I’ve only had two games where I had break points.”

It is the first edition of the event in Turin – after 12 years in London.

In the group of the Greens, the first in the standings Novak Djokovic opens on Monday against Casper Ruud, eighth seeded, then Stefanos Tsitsipas, fourth seeded, plays with Andrey Rublev, fifth seeded.

With both players serving well within Pala Alpitour, neither Medvedev nor Hurkacz scored a break in the first set, when Hurkacz’s strong net play proved the difference in the tiebreaker.

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Medvedev responded with an early break in the second set, then broke again in the first game of the third, methodically knocking Hurkacz down.

“Daniil is an extraordinary player and plays excellent tennis throughout the game,” said Hurkacz. “He has no dips in his game, so that makes him such a tough opponent.”

Berrettini, a Wimbledon finalist this year, was treated by a coach during a medical timeout. Then he played another point before closing.

“I don’t know what it is,” said Berrettini, who was also slowed down by injuries last year. “I hope it’s not that (serious), but it was impossible to keep playing.”

Zverev saved two set points at 5-6 in a long first set, with the crowd exploding in stadium chants every time Berrettini took major points.

Jannik Sinner, another Italian, is the first substitute and could replace Berrettini for the next two games in the group.

Berrettini is expected to play the Davis Cup final with Italy, again in Turin, the week after the ATP Finals.

“Tomorrow with my team and the doctors I will do some checks,” said Berrettini. “I really hope it’s not something that prevents me from playing.”

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