It was an enthralling Masters 1000 season with six different winners across nine tournaments.
Dominic Thiem captured his maiden title, Fabio Fognini treated us to a memorable week in Monte Carlo, and Daniil Medvedev made his charge on the big three. And then we had two remarkable year-end finals as both Jannik Sinner and Stefanos Tsitsipas came of age. Here’s our run down of all the finals.
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Indian Wells: Dominic Thiem vs Roger Federer
Federer was on a scintillating ten-match win-streak after lifting the title in Dubai, while Thiem had bounced back remarkably from a poor first two months in which he had lost four from seven. The Austrian had taken to the South American clay in February, but here he rocked Federer with the explosive hard-court tennis we have seen more and more of this year. Two beautiful but very different one-handed backhands in a fascinating contrast of guile and brawn.
Miami: Roger Federer vs John Isner
Two weeks later, Federer was back in his third final of the year. Defending champion John Isner stood in his way. It was the American’s maiden Masters title in Miami last year but he looked well on course to repeat his heroics having not dropped a set all week and overcome an inspired Felix Auger-Aliassime in the semi-finals. Federer, though, had a hefty 7-2 head-to-head lead.
Monte Carlo: Dusan Lajovic vs Fabio Fognini
Not many would have predicted this: two Masters final debutants and just the third Monte Carlo final not to feature Nadal in 15 years. That was thanks to a nerveless display in the semi-finals from Fognini, who had also stunned Alexander Zverev and was producing some of the best tennis of his career. It was a dream week for Dusan Lajovic, too, who had won five consecutive tour-level matches for the first time in his career, including scalps over Thiem and Daniil Medvedev. Some breath-taking points in this one.
Madrid: Novak Djokovic vs Stefanos Tsitsipas
After just one quarter-final in the first three Masters of the season, Djokovic was rediscovering the imperious form he showed in Melbourne. Meanwhile, Tsitsipas was leading the ATP Tour in wins for the year with 27 victories from 37, including a first win in four over Rafael Nadal in the previous round. How would the young gun fair against tennis’ serial winner?
Rome: Rafael Nadal vs Novak Djokovic
Rome was perhaps the best tournament of the year and it had a fitting finale. Djokovic was hungry to keep up his good form, battling through epic back-to-back encounters with Juan Martin Del Potro and Diego Schwartzman. Nadal had failed to win a clay court title by May for the first time since 2004. But the Spaniard dropped only 13 games on his way to the final and even dished out a bagel here. There were still complications though…
Montreal: Daniil Medvedev vs Rafael Nadal
Three months later and Nadal was back, challenging for his 35th Masters title, but against an unlikely opponent. Medvedev’s blistering year had just got hotter, and after an impressive run to the final in Washington he simply demolished the field here. Nadal ultimately dominated in blustery conditions, but this was the start of what would become an intriguing 2019 rivalry.
Cincinnati: David Goffin vs Daniil Medvedev
Another surprise final, as only one of the top eight seeds made it to the last eight of Cincinnati. Medvedev was back in contention after a truly sensational display against Djokovic in the semis, while Goffin made his first Masters final in five semi-final appearances. This was an enthralling clash as the talented Belgian used all of his variety to test Medvedev’s unstoppable baseline game.
Shanghai: Daniil Medvedev vs Alexander Zverev
Zverev turned his fortunes around in Shanghai, delivering his best result of the season and just his first top 10 win of the year in that remarkable quarter-final match against Federer. But the winning juggernaut marched on: Medvedev had too much for his opponent in the final, topping off a nine-match and eighteen-set winning streak.
Paris: Denis Shapovalov vs Novak Djokovic
The year-end No.1 spot was on the line for Djokovic as he chased his fifth Paris title. Two weeks before, Shapovalov secured his first ATP Tour crown in Stockholm and the young Canadian was playing bold, confident tennis. But Djokovic was determined, he was ruthless, and extended his impression 3-0 record over Shapovalov this campaign.
ATP Next Gen Final: Jannik Sinner vs Alex De Minaur
Weeks after breaking into the top 20 for the first time of his career, De Minaur was back in his fifth ATP final of 2019 and he was the hot favourite. Sinner only made it into the tournament as a wild card and was the youngest man of the field. But the 18-year-old had a crowd behind him and a huge forehand. This was a stunning offensive display from the Italian, who will be a force to contend with next year. A must watch.
ATP World Tour Final: Dominic Thiem vs Stefanos Tsitsipas
An instant classic. Thiem had won four of the pair’s previous six meetings, including recently in the final of Beijing. But neither had ever played on a stage quite as big as this. A tense match full of swings in momentum and which saw the third deciding tie-break in the history of the ATP season-finale.