Daniil Medvedev won the season ending ATP Finals (Image: PA)

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Daniil Medvedev won the last Nitto ATP Finals at The O2 tonight to stake his claim to be the next best player in the world.

The Russian beat world No.1 Novak Djokovic in the group stages and saw off world No.2 Rafa Nadal in the semis.

And the world No.4 became the first winner in the tournament's history to defeat the world's top three by holding off US Open winner Dominic Thiem 4-6 7-6 6-4 to win this biggest title of his career.

Medvedev, nicknamed The Bear because the Russian word for the animal is medved, is the last winner at The O2 after his compatriot Nikolay Davydenko was the first in 2009.

And though the last match on the Greenwich Peninsula badly lacked the usual raucous atmosphere, the two future superstars produced the longest final in the event's 50-year history.

Daniil Medvedev took it to a decider and powered to the title
(Image: REUTERS)

Medvedev said: “What a match. Maybe one of my best victories against a great player. "Dominic, I hope we will have many more matches to come on big occasions like this."

The Russian, 24, had lost all three matches on his O2 debut last year. The 2019 US Open finalist returned to win all five matches – and pocket £1.2m – to end a rollercoaster 2020 with 10 consecutive wins.

Djokovic also lost all his matches on his debut in 2007 and returned to win the title in 2008 and go on to top the rankings.

The Big Four have dominated tennis for the past decade but this event proved the next generation – led by Medvedev and Thiem – are catching up fast.

Dominic Thiem won the opening set
(Image: ANDY RAIN/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

The Austrian made the only break in the first set in the fifth game to lead 3-2 after a lucky net cord.

Medvedev missed up his tactics more in the second set by taking the pace off the ball and getting into the net more to force the tiebreak. The Russian trailed 2-0 in the tiebreak before racing to the next seven points to draw the match level.

And Medvedev claimed his first break point at his ninth attempt with a forehand volley to go 3-2 in the decider. And the Russian sealed the win after two hour and 43 minutes with a 132mph first serve.

Thiem, who also lost last year's final to Stefanos Tsitsipas, said: “Daniil really deserved it – an amazing match. I hope we have many great matches to come.”