Medvedev the hat-trick hero

Former world No.1 picks up a third title in three weeks with Dubai triumph

Daniil Medvedev / Dubaï 2023©Jorge Ferrari / Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships
 - Reem Abulleil

New milestones were reached all around last week on the ATP and WTA tours as one champion claimed his first hat-trick, a youngster lifted a maiden trophy, and a tireless Aussie grabbed his first 500-level crown.

Here's a look at the week gone by in the ever-spinning world of professional tennis.

He's officially back!

"You can never underestimate Daniil," Novak Djokovic told reporters in Dubai last week and the world No.1 is not wrong.

Just three weeks ago, Daniil Medvedev dropped outside the top-10 for the first time in almost four years and was riddled with feelings of doubt and disappointment.

Before his first match in Rotterdam mid-February, he sought out a friend and asked him for tips on how to score a single win.

Medvedev then went on to grab 14 wins. In a row. In a span of just 19 days!

After hoisting trophies in Rotterdam and Doha, the 27-year-old's latest success came in Dubai, where he cruised to the title without dropping a set.

In the quarter-finals, he faced a solid Borna Coric. He finished that match by winning the last 21 consecutive points.

In the semis, he took on familiar foe, Djokovic, who was on a 20-match winning streak, undefeated in all 15 matches he played in 2023. Medvedev comfortably snapped that streak to advance.

In the final, defending champion and No.2 seed Andrey Rublev could muster just four games against the unstoppable force that is Medvedev.

"Daniil destroyed me tonight," said Rublev during the trophy ceremony, following his 6-2, 6-2 defeat.

"Only four games, I don’t know how he’s doing that, three titles in a row. It’s my first final of the season, I told him I’m completely destroyed and he won three titles in a row. I think I never said this to Daniil face to face, but I have huge, huge respect for him. He’s a real champion and a real inspiration for the players."

Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev, Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships 2023, trophy©Jorge Ferrari / Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships

There is a lot Medvedev can be happy with from his performances in Dubai. He was equally impressive on serve and return -- he was broken just twice all tournament -- and was moving incredibly well, covering all inches of the court and making it near impossible to hit a winner past him.

He is back up to No.6 in the world rankings and heads to Indian Wells and Miami brimming with confidence.

"The way I play these three tournaments was top level," said Medvedev.

"Especially Dubai was probably the best out of the three. I was really playing well. Beating Novak and Andrey, the scoreline I managed to do, the confidence I managed to do it, was amazing. So right now I'm feeling amazing."

Daniil Medvedev, Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships 2023, trophy©Jorge Ferrari/Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships

You never forget your first

Before last week, Marta Kostyuk, at 52 in the world, was the highest-ranked woman never to have reached a WTA final.

That unwanted statistic finally changed when the 20-year-old Ukrainian made the championship match in the inaugural ATX Open in Austin, Texas. And she even went one better by securing a maiden WTA title with a 6-3, 7-5 result against Varvara Gracheva.

"Very surreal. I was just playing match by match, and I think this is how you win tournaments, I guess! It’s not so easy to talk right now, but obviously I'm extremely happy," said Kostyuk, who dedicated her victory to Ukraine.

Kostyuk's run in Austin has earned her a place in the world's top-40 for the first time in her career.

Just a six-hour drive south of Austin, in Monterrey, Mexico, Croatian Donna Vekic clinched her fourth career title with a statement win over reigning WTA Finals champion Caroline Garcia.

Vekic's 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 result against Garcia was her sixth triumph over a top-five opponent. She fired 13 aces against the Frenchwoman and saved a remarkable 14 of 16 break points.

"It’s been a great start of the year for me. If the title didn’t come now, I believe that it would have come soon," said Vekic, who made the Australian Open quarter-finals in January and is now up to No.23 in the rankings, her highest mark since February 2020.

"So I’ve been playing good tennis, and I just need to keep working hard and hopefully stay healthy, and I’m sure I will keep having good results."

Alex is awesome in Acapulco

Alex de Minaur had to dig deep to get through his last two rounds in Acapulco, rallying back from a set down in each of his matches against Holger Rune and Tommy Paul, and it was totally worth it as the speedy Aussie secured his biggest title to date.

It was De Minaur's seventh career trophy but first at the ATP 500 level.

The 24-year-old's semi-final win over Danish world No.8 Rune ended at nearly 3:00am after two hours and 48 minutes of battle.

De Minaur returned to the court less than 24 hours later and posted a 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 victory over an in-form Paul, who had come through a brutal three-hour 25-minute win over world No.5 Taylor Fritz the night before.

"It feels great, it feels amazing," De Minaur was quoted as saying by

"I know the hard work that's put in to be here and it's good to see the results. It's not always that you win the tournament and you get to finish a week unbeaten, so I'll definitely cherish this going into Indian Wells and Miami."

Over in Santiago at the Chile Open, home favourite Nicolas Jarry fought through a two-hour 46-minute final to overcome Argentinean Tomas Martin Etcheverry 6-7(5), 7-6(5), 6-2.