MEDVEDEV WINS HIS THIRD TITLE OF THE SEASON
Rakuten Open, Japan
Championship Match:  Kei Nishikori (JPN) vs.  Daniil Medvedev (RUS)
Perhaps Nishikori was feeling the effects of pressure, or perhaps Medvedev simply played better; the Russian came to play and played well. It’s the same old recipe for victory: keep the unforced errors low and back up your first serve with a decent second serve. Unfortunately for Nishikori, he made too many unforced errors and only won twenty-five percent on his second serve in the first set. For someone of his caliber, those stats were surprising. There was no obvious injury; however, that is misleading because many players often hide their injuries. Frankly, Medvedev did not have to do much in the first set, except hold his serve; his opponent practically gifted him the set. A double-fault by Nishikori on set point tells the story of the first set for the Japanese player.
Nishikori produced slightly better stats in the second set; however, he was unable to manufacture any break points and coupled with his low second serve percentage of points won, it was inevitable he would lose in straight sets to his opponent. Kudos to Medvedev who stayed focused the entire match and kept the fans out of the equation. Medvedev won 6-2, 6-4 to give Nishikori his eighth consecutive loss in finals and the Russian his third title of the year.
BASILASHVILI IS HAVING THE SEASON OF HIS CAREER
China Open, Beijing
Championship Match:  Juan Martin del Potro (ARG) vs.  Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO)
The Georgian exacted a little revenge for his loss last year to the Argentine in Shanghai, and he did it in straight sets. Perhaps del Potro was not fully a hundred percent physically; however, Basilashvili has to be credited for staying focused and playing quality tennis the entire match. Known to be emotionally volatile, there was no evidence of that today; he was strangely calm, perhaps that was out of respect for his opponent.
One break in each set was all the Georgian needed to secure the victory; however, it was not that straightforward, he had to save seven break points to prevent the Argentine from getting back in the match. It was a battle of Basilashvili’s forehand against del Potro’s backhand, and the Georgian came out on top the majority of the time. Basilashvili took time away from his opponent and never allowed him to feel comfortable in the match and that’s an amazing feat, considering del Potro’s status.
The Georgian has always had talent; however, inconsistency and emotional volatility caused a paucity of titles. However, his new team seems to have found the secret to maximizing his potential and the result was the 6-4, 6-4 defeat of the top seed for the second title of the season and his career.
SOURCE OF IMAGES: Zimbio.com (Koji Watanabe/Getty Images AsiaPac: Daniil Medvedev and Lintao Zhang/Getty Images AsiaPac: Nikoloz Basilashvili)