Hurkacz thrashes Medvedev for Halle title, sounds Wimbledon warning

AFP

Poland's Hubert Hurkacz showed his Wimbledon credentials on Sunday, hammering world number one Daniil Medvedev 6-1 6-4 to win the ATP 500 grasscourt tournament in Halle, Germany.

World number 12 Hurkacz defeated Medvedev and Roger Federer en route to the semi-finals at Wimbledon last year and showed he will once again be a force to reckon with when the Championships kick off on June 27.

Halle is the 25-year-old Pole's fifth ATP singles title, and he kept his record in finals so far unblemished with his victory in just over an hour when he converted his second matchpoint with a backhand volley.

"I'm super excited, I've been waiting a little bit for my first (title) this year," Hurkacz said during his victory speech. "I'm happy to win my first ATP 500 title and of course, on the grass it is very special.

"Daniil is an unbelievable player. He's the best player in the world so it's very tricky to play him. All the right shots went my way at the beginning, so I definitely gained a lot of momentum from that."

In contrast, it was a fifth straight defeat in a championship match for Medvedev, who has not won a title since denying Novak Djokovic the calendar Grand Slam to win the 2021 US Open for his maiden major triumph.

Play was briefly halted during the final when a protestor ran onto the court and tried to tie herself to the net before being dragged away by security guards.

Earlier this month, an environmental activist interrupted the French Open men's semi-final between Marin Cilic and Casper Ruud for 15 minutes when she jumped onto Court Philippe Chatrier and tied and glued herself to the net. 

Medvedev, who will not be allowed to compete at Wimbledon due to its ban on Russian and Belarusian players, came into Sunday's match having not dropped a set while saving 22 of the 23 break points he faced during his four matches.

But the Russian struggled to get his first serves in as Hurkacz jumped into a 5-0 lead in no time with two breaks of his opponent's delivery.

Medvedev finally held his serve at 1-5 before Hurkacz wrapped up the opening set in 27 minutes.

There was, however, no end to Medvedev's frustrations in the second set as the Pole once again broke serve early, continuing to dominate the rallies both from the back of the court and when he advanced to the net.

Medvedev saved two breakpoints to hold serve in the seventh game to stay close to Hurkacz, but he could not get the break back against his opponent, who did not allow the Russian a single opportunity on his own delivery during the entire match.

"I was serving pretty good today and got a little bit of momentum from the first game," Hurkacz added.

"I saved a couple of deuces on my service game and then I managed to break Daniil's serve so I definitely got a little bit of momentum. I'm very happy with the win in front of such a great crowd here."

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