Third seed Daniil Medvedev flexed his muscles at the Shanghai Masters on Saturday to reach a sixth consecutive tournament final.
The confident Russian, through to his ninth final of the year, outlasted sixth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece 7-6 (5), 7-5.
Medvedev has won a tour-best 58 matches this season, 43 in straight sets. He has yet to drop a set this week.
Fifth-seeded Alexander Zverev of Germany now stands between Medvedev winning his seventh career title and third of this year.
Zverev ended 11th-seeded Italian Matteo Berrettini’s run by taking their semifinal 6-3, 6-4, ending the match on an ace, one of 11 he had.
“This was a much different match than playing against Roger (Federer yesterday),” Zverev said. “I take a lot of positives from this into the final tomorrow.”
Medvedev has lost to Zverev all four times they have played, though none of the contests took place this year.
“He’s different this year,” Zverev said. “The last few months he’s probably the best player in the world. He’s definitely playing the best tennis of his life.”
The younger generation took over the semifinals. Medvedev and Berrettini are 23, Tsitsipas is 21 and Zverev is 22.
It is the first time an ATP Masters 1000-level tournament has had four semifinalists 23 and under since Carlos Moya (22), Mariano Zabaleta (21), Nicolas Lapentti (22) and Marcelo Rios (23) reached the last four in Hamburg in 1999.
Medvedev is 28-3 in matches played since the summer hard court swing started after Wimbledon.
Of the six finals he has now reached in that period, he has won two titles, in Cincinnati and St. Petersburg. He also made his first Grand Slam final at the U.S. Open, where he lost to Rafael Nadal.