Medvedev downs Norrie to end ATP title drought in Los Cabos

LOS CABOS: World number one Daniil Medvedev won his first ATP title of 2022, roaring past defending champion Cameron Norrie 7-5, 6-0 in the final of the hardcourt tournament in Los Cabos, Mexico.

Medvedev snapped a five-match losing streak in finals – a stretch that included his agonizing five-set loss to Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open final in February.

He also came up short this year in ‘s-Hertogenbosch and Halle. He didn’t get a chance at Wimbledon, where Russian and Belarussian players were banned because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

His first trophy since he won the US Open last year – denying Novak Djokovic a calendar Grand Slam – comes just as he launches the final build up to his title defense in the final Grand Slam of 2022.

Next he’ll defend his Canadian Open title before tackling the Cincinnati Masters.

Defending Los Cabos champion Norrie did what he could to keep it close in the opening set, twice battling back from a break down. But Medvedev gained a decisive break to lead 6-5 and once he’d served out the opening set there was simply no stopping him.

“When you play against him, you know you have to fight for every point,” Medvedev said. “The first set we broke each other a few times to get to five-alo. I knew I just had to stay in there.”

Medvedev was playing his first tournament since a quarter-final exit at Mallorca in June.

With each match he looked more assured, and he ended the week without dropping a set against a modest array of opponents starting with 224th-ranked Australian Rinky Hijikata followed by 98th-ranked Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis and 38th-ranked Serb Miomir Kecmanovic.

Norrie was a tougher proposition. Ranked 12th, he has taken his tally of ATP titles to four since winning his first at Los Cabos last year.

He had reached his 10th final since the start of 2021 by beating second-seeded Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime in the semi-finals.

Once Medvedev found his groove, however, Norrie had no answer and Medvedev stamped himself a US Open favorite, especially given the likely absence of Djokovic because of his refusal to be vaccinated against Covid and the uncertainty surrounding injured Nadal.