Sinner in the way of Medvedev in the final
Medvedev five from five in previous meetings
Improving serve gives Sinner a solid chance
Alcaraz out as Sinner faces Medvedev for the title
Daniil Medvedev would have been anticipating a second consecutive final against Carlos Alcaraz tonight, but he doesn't have the chance to gain revenge for that defeat at Indian Wells, facing Jannik Sinner instead.
This was after the Italian fought back from a set down to defeat the world number one, his second top 10 scalp of the tournament after easing to victory over Andrey Rublev in the last 16.
That first set tiebreak to Alcaraz was the first set Sinner has lost in the event, and that was also the case for Medvedev, who dropped the second set en route to defeating Karen Khachanov.
Market finding it tough to split the duo
After this, there's one match to go for us to convert our outright, which never really looked in danger after the draw completely opened up for Medvedev - Khachanov was his first top 50 opponent in the tournament so far.
Interestingly, despite being miles ahead of Sinner in the outrights all tournament, the market is finding it tricky to split the duo, with both around the even money mark at the time of writing. Medvedev is the very marginal 1.9620/21 favourite.
If Sinner is to defeat Medvedev, he will need to overturn a 5-0 head-to-head deficit, where he has won just three sets of the 13 played. Medvedev won 5-7 6-2 6-2 in the final of Rotterdam indoors against Sinner several months ago, priced around the 1.75/7 mark.
Looking at that line, Medvedev is currently trading at least 25 ticks bigger and interestingly, 2023 all-surface data has the duo very evenly matched, both running at around the 110% combined service/return points won region, which is the point where a player can be described as elite.
Sinner's ranking hasn't caught up with that elite definition yet, but he's 21-4 this year and will continue to rise up the rankings.
Very slight lean to Medvedev but unconvinced about any value
The duo are also tough to split when looking at their data this year on hard court.
Again, they're both running at around that 109-110% combined mark, showing both have demonstrated a very high level in 2023 on the surface. However, Medvedev has the edge on sets won percentage, which perhaps shows some over performance on key points so far in these first three months of the season.
If we look a little further back at 12-month hard court data, Medvedev does have the edge - primarily via serve numbers - but I'm not convinced that time scale takes into account the improvement to Sinner's serve which I highlighted earlier in the event.
With his return game already very strong, this was exactly what Sinner needed to get to the next level.
However, my lean - very slight that it is - goes to Medvedev here. His 5-0 record over Sinner could create some mental baggage, and Sinner will need to show that improvement on serve if he is to lift the trophy.
In those previous encounters with Medvedev, Sinner has only held around 65% of the time, illustrating exactly the area in which he will need to improve to significantly test Medvedev tonight.
It should be a cracking match in prospect, with a number of different narratives possible. It promises to be a superb clash ahead of the European clay court season, which gets underway on Monday.