Fourth seed Daniil Medvedev has reached his first Nitto ATP Finals championship match in just his second appearance at the tournament after a 3-6, 7-6 (4), 6-3 victory over second seed Rafael Nadal at the O2 Arena.
Medvedev trailed 6-3, 5-4 before taking the second set in a tiebreaker and securing a pair of late breaks in the third to advance to the final, where he will face third seed Dominic Thiem.
Medvedev to play for biggest career title after knocking out Nadal
Although he was holding, Nadal faced 30-30 in his first service game and further had to recover from 15-30 to go in front 3-2. Medvedev was breezing through his service games until the eighth game when Nadal battered a forehand to set up triple break point.
A forehand long by the Russian gave the Spaniard a 5-3 lead and he again came from behind on serve, closing out the set with a forehand down the line. Medvedev blasted through the beginning of the second set and a double fault by Nadal gave him a 2-0 lead.
The fourth seed had taken a 4-1 lead with the loss of just one point on serve, but he watched as Nadal turned the set around, breaking twice to take a 5-4 advantage after saving a break point that would have seen him trail 5-1.
Undeterred, Medvedev broke back and after more holds, the set went to a tiebreaker which the Russian won thanks to some excellent work off of the ground and a mishit forehand lob to go ahead 5-3. He blistered a backhand down the line on set point to level the match.
The only break of the third set came in the seventh game as Nadal saved the first chance with an ace while the second was erased on a crosscourt forehand. The third saw the Russian sneak into the net and finish the point with an overhead.
A quick hold made it 5-3 and a final break punctuated the biggest victory of Medvedev's career as he will seek the biggest title of his career on Sunday afternoon.