Despite a valiant effort, Zverev was unable to overturn a recent losing trend against Medvedev and the Russian won 6-3, 6-7(3), 7-6(6).
But the 2018 Nitto ATP Finals champion, who owns the longest streak of consecutive appearances at the season finale among active players and is the second-most experienced competitor in the eight-man field behind Novak Djokovic, knows better than almost anyone how to handle the ups and downs of the round-robin format.
“To be honest, in my personal opinion I think we both have a very good chance of passing the group,” he said.
“This is not like any other tournament. I am in the tournament still, I still have a chance to win the tournament and this is what I’m thinking to myself. Of course I wanted to win, there’s no doubt about it, I lost 8-6 in a third-set tie-break. But the tournament isn’t done yet.”
Zverev initially dominated the head-to-head with Medvedev, but their last four matches have all gone the Russian’s way, including both of their previous 2021 clashes. This was their closest contest since 2018, however, with just a solitary break of serve throughout the match. Zverev had a mini-break in the decisive tie-break, but was unable to pull clear of Medvedev, who edged past to go top of the Red Group.
“I think it was good. I think we both played pretty well,” Zverev said.
“I think we both served extremely well, since the opening game on my serve we both didn’t get broken. The surface is very fast, the court is very fast, the balls are very fast, and I think for those conditions we played extremely well.”
Zverev’s opening match at the Pala Alpitour was truncated when Matteo Berrettini was forced to retire due to injury when trailing 7-6(7), 1-0. Berrettini will now be replaced in the tournament by compatriot Jannik Sinner, which means that Medvedev has won the Red Group, leaving one semi-final spot open.
Zverev is keeping his eye on that spot and on reaching the elimination stages as he looks ahead to his match against Hubert Hurkacz on Thursday.
“Look, I think if I beat Hurkacz I’m in a very good position because I won in two sets, I lost in three,” Zverev said. “I’m ready to play on Thursday. I’m ready to play Hubi on Thursday and I think that will be the deciding match for me. I’m excited, I’m looking forward to it, I think it’s all in my hands, kind of.”
The World No. 3 might be focused on his mission to make the semi-finals, but he still had a thought to spare for Berrettini:
“It’s sad. At the end of the day, he’s at home, he’s playing in front of the Italian fans, he’s playing one of the biggest tournaments in the world in Italy. I think for him the feeling that he’s having is incredible. So hopefully he’ll be back here next year.”