LONDON: Daniil Medvedev came from behind to beat US Open champion Dominic Thiem in a gruelling encounter and win the biggest title of his career at the ATP Finals in London on Sunday (Nov 22).
The Russian fourth seed was second best for large periods at the empty O2 Arena but found a way back into the contest and prevailed 4-6, 7-6 (7/2), 6-4.
Medvedev, who beat five-time champion Novak Djokovic and world number two Rafael Nadal earlier in the week, is the first player to sweep the top three players in the rankings at the season finale.
The giant Russian, 24, has now won 10 consecutive matches following his title earlier this month at the Paris Masters and his victory will taste sweet a year after a winless debut in London.
But it is a painful defeat for Thiem, who also lost in the final last year.
"What a match," said Medvedev. "One of my best victories, two hours and 42 minutes, three sets against an amazing player.
"Dominic, congratulations already for what you achieved in your career. Your name is already in the history of tennis books.
"It is amazing. You won a Grand Slam this year. You are playing unbelievable. I hope we are going to have many more matches to come on the big occasions like this."
Thiem weathered early pressure from Medvedev and secured the first break of the match in the fifth game, when the Russian served a double fault.
He sealed the set in fortunate fashion when his forehand clipped the net and looped over Medvedev's racket.
Medvedev, who came from one set down against Nadal in Saturday's last-four contest, made a solid start to the second set.
But Thiem held to love in the fourth game, looking comfortable as the giant Russian sought a way back into the match.
The 27-year-old third seed had chances to earn a potentially decisive break but they slipped by and he yelled in frustration as he squandered his opportunities.
The Austrian took a tumble onto the blue court at the start of the eighth game and found himself break point down but toughed it out, with Medvedev looking stronger as the set wore on.
The set went to a tie-break. Thiem earned a mini-break on the first point and took a 2-0 lead but the Russian stormed back, winning seven points in a row and levelling the match with an ace.
The Austrian appeared to be struggling to cope with the punishing pace in the third set and finally cracked in the fifth game, when Medvedev produced a volley at the net to break.
Thiem remained under pressure and had to battle hard to avoid going down another break.
But all Medvedev now had to do was keep his nerve. He did so as he served out for victory.