Medvedev Halts Fritz's Cincinnati Run

Top seed next faces Tsitsipas

Daniil Medvedev's quest for a fifth ATP Masters 1000 title moved into top gear at the Western & Southern Open Friday, when he downed Taylor Fritz 7-6(1), 6-3 to reach the semi-finals in Cincinnati.

The top seed backed up his impressive victories over Botic van de Zandschulp and Denis Shapovalov with an all-round display against the American to advance after one hour and 38 minutes.

The 26-year-old fired 32 winners as he laid blows with his racquet, while he hung tight in the key moments during their first ATP Head2Head meeting, saving three set points in the first set to improve to 9-3 in Masters 1000 quarter-finals.

Medvedev suffered a disappointing second-round defeat against Nick Kyrgios in Montreal last week. However, he has found his rhythm in Cincinnati and is now 14-4 at the hard-court event.

“Cincinnati fast courts and fast balls and I have always liked it. But always tricky matches, especially between two great servers,” Medvedev said in his on-court interview. “I feel like me and Taylor served good, even if we aren’t John [Isner] maybe! I knew that it was going to be a tight match.

“The first set he was on top of me a little bit. He had many more chances than I did on my serve, but I managed to stay in. There were some set points where I could have missed and no one would have talked about it, it would have been normal. But I managed to stay in the set and that helped me win the match.”

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Medvedev lifted his maiden Masters 1000 trophy at the event in 2019, before he enjoyed a run to the semi-finals last season. He will look to continue his strong record in Ohio when he faces Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas in the last four.

The 2020 Nitto ATP Finals champion, who is assured of retaining his No. 1 status in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings until at least through the US Open, is aiming to capture his second title of the year and 14th crown on hard overall. The four-times Masters 1000 champion won the trophy in Los Cabos last month, while he reached finals at the Australian Open, 's-Hertogenbosch and in Halle.

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In front of a lively American crowd, both came out swinging as Fritz looked to penetrate Medvedev’s defence with his flat groundstrokes. The 11th seed returned with great depth throughout and had three set points in the set on Medvedev’s serve. However, the top seed stayed consistent from the baseline to save one at 4-5 and two more at 5-6, before he raced away in the tie-break to lead.

Medvedev was locked in at the start of the second set and won a mammoth rally to clinch an early break. The 26-year-old acted as a brick wall from the baseline as he covered the ground to hang in the point. He threw up a huge lob, which to his surprise dropped in, before Fritz eventually hit a forehand wide, with Medvedev raising his arms in celebration. The top seed then stayed solid on serve to triumph.

Medvedev now holds a 20-6 record in tie-breaks at Masters 1000 events. A record he is proud of.

“That is great because tie-breaks are a fine thing. We call it a lottery and I do think it is this way a little bit. I remember when I had the crazy run in 2019. I think someone told me once that I won a lot of tie-breaks in a row," Medvedev said. "I don’t know if it was eight or 12, so I was like, 'That is cool.' I just try to do my best and win every point. You win some and lose some. But 20-6 is a good record, so I am happy about it.”

The 11th seed Fritz was aiming to reach his second Masters 1000 semi-final of the season, after soaring to the title in Indian Wells in March. The 24-year-old is currently 10th in the Pepperstone ATP Race To Turin as he looks to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals for the first time.

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