Somehow, he fell short.
Medvedev blew a big lead in the second set when Nadal was one point away from a going down 5-1. He was nailed on for his first final here in seven years until Medvedev broke him to love with some outrageous shot-making of his own.
The muscular Mallorcan has won 71 matches in a row after winning the opening set.
Yet Nadal went from serving to win the match to serving to stay in the set within the space of nine points. Last year Daniil Medvedev was boxed up and shipped out early on his ATP Finals debut, going 0-3. "I always had a great relationship with him, he's a very nice guy".
"Playing for the final here at the Nitto ATP Finals is also something very special and I thought that after my first big title in NY, maybe I'm going to be a little bit more calm, but that was a mistake, I guess". "Then he played a good tie-break". I should've held my serve in the third set. I played a bad game.
7-6 (5) to make the final at the Nitto ATP Finals. I had my chances.
"I have not heard that we had maybe top players involved in such instances". He was better in the important moments, I couldn't return in the important moments, I couldn't make a good shot in the important moments.
Earlier he had told a press conference: "I sincerely wish for him that he overcomes this soon and that he can focus on his life and tennis career". Medvedev squandered a point for a 5-1 lead and paid the price as Nadal hurtled back to stand on the brink of victory.
Like Medvedev, who had beaten Djokovic in the league stage of the competition and followed it up with the win over Nadal in the knock-out round, Thiem had beaten the Spaniard in the league phase before topping the Serbian on Saturday evening.
"I think it's super for tennis".
The 13-time French Open champion was getting just 40% of his first set first serves in; a figure which only marginally improved to 52% in the second set. "He just crushed the ball and everything went in". What can you do? "Of course I will try everything to win the title", said Thiem. At 10-9, Djokovic erased No. 4 with a forehand that landed right on a line.
"The comment [that] got the most likes was, 'My mind is saying Dominic and Daniil will be in the final and my heart goes for Rafa and Novak, '" he said.
Djokovic has beaten Thiem in seven of their 11 meetings, but the Austrian came out on top in London previous year and in the French Open semi-finals before Djokovic gained revenge in a five-set Australian Open final. Thiem was the better player from the start, pounding that heavy forehand and using his serve effectively.
Thiem beat Medvedev in the semi-finals of the US Open in September before going on to win his first Grand Slam title.