MARSEILLE, France (AP) - Top-seeded Daniil Medvedev will bid for his 10th career title when he meets unseeded Pierre-Hugues Herbert in an unusual-looking Open 13 final.
Sunday’s decider pits two-time Grand Slam runner-up Medvedev against a player who owns all four majors in doubles but has never won a singles title, and is ranked 93rd.
Medvedev, who climbs to No. 2 in the rankings next week, led 6-4, 3-0 against qualifier Matthew Ebden when the Australian retired through an unspecified injury on Saturday.
“Really unfortunate to end the match like this. I knew that even with an injury I had to just continue playing, trying to win,” Medvedev said. “You cannot give easy points just because he’s injured. So I really sorry for him, hopefully he can recover fast and it’s nothing serious.”
Boosted by his win over second-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas on Friday, Herbert brushed aside fourth-seeded Ugo Humbert 6-3, 6-2. He had nine aces and did not face a single break point in their all-French match.
The surprise final is a result of Herbert’s largely unexpected run. He beat former No.4-ranked Kei Nishikori earlier this week at the indoor tournament.
Medvedev, however, is heavy favorite considering that the Australian Open runner-up’s victory on Saturday means he has won 22 of his last 24 matches.
But Herbert’s serve-and-volley style could cause him some problems.
The 287th-ranked Ebden - the lowest ranked semifinalist in the tournament’s 28-year-history - disturbed Medvedev’s rhythm at times and Medvedev had to save three break points in the first set.
“He’s a tough opponent to play, he does serve and volley, he plays (with) no rhythm, so that’s why it’s tough to say if I played well or not,” Medvedev said. “But looking forward for tomorrow. Luckily this time no crowd, because a final against a French guy in Marseille with a crowd would be not an easy challenge.”
When he climbs to No. 2 on Monday, Medvedev will be the first player outside the Big Four of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray to do so since Nadal in July 2005.
More AP tennis: https://apnews.com/hub/tennis and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC.