How Medvedev Kicked In The Door To The Top 5
Knock, knock. I have arrived.
Daniil Medvedev’s scorching 32-match streak during six straight tournaments this year catapulted the Russian from No. 10 to No. 4 in the ATP Rankings. From late July to mid-September, Medvedev was the hottest player on the planet.
He didn’t so much walk through the door to the Top 5; he kicked it down.
An Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers analysis of Medvedev’s six straight tournaments highlighted four specific areas where his game elevated. The six events, including his win/loss record:
Citi Open - Finalist (5-1)
Coupe Rogers - Finalist (4-1)
Western & Southern Open - Champion (6-0)
US Open - Finalist (6-1)
St. Petersburg Open - Champion (4-0)
Rolex Shanghai Masters - Champion (5-0)
OVERALL = 30-2 (3 titles / 3 finals)
1. Bouncing Back From 0/15
Medvedev won 84.1 per cent (810/963) of his service games in 2019 from 79 matches, which was good for 13th best on Tour. But when he fell behind 0/15 in his service games during the 32-match streak from Washington to Shanghai, his overall hold percentage hardly took a hit.
He won 86 of 109 service games, which was good for 78.9 per cent, a drop of just 5.2 percentage points. One point in arrears hardly made a dent.
2. Bold On Break Points
Medvedev served 690 aces in 79 matches this season, for an average of 11.4 aces per match. During the 32-match streak, he served 312 aces in 32 matches for an average of 10.2. So on the surface, this area of his game was slightly down in the 32 matches compared to the rest of the season.
But then you look where they occurred. On break point, Medvedev importantly delivered 15 aces, while committing just four double faults. In big moments, he could often rely on the serve not coming back.
3. Finishing When Ahead
After winning Shanghai, Medvedev said, “Something clicked in my game in the USA. I started to understand even more about my game, even more I would say about my serve.”
Once Medvedev got ahead in his service games, he was almost unstoppable. The following metrics identify how hard he was to catch once he got ahead in the 32-match streak.
Games Won From:
40/0 = 98% (131/133)
30/0 = 95% (182/192)
40/30 = 92% (101/110)
30/15 = 90% (154/171)
4. Break And Hold
Medvedev’s 2019 season average for holding serve was 84.1 per cent (810/963), but that elevated even higher during the 32-match streak when he looked to hold immediately after breaking serve.
Overall, Medvedev broke serve 111 times from Washington to St. Petersburg and had to follow it up with a service game of his own. When that occurred, he won a dominant 88.2 per cent (98/111) of his service games to consolidate the break.
Medvedev was ranked No. 19 in mid-January of 2019, and ended up spending 10 straight weeks at No. 4 before finishing the season at No. 5.
He starts 2020 less than 1,000 ATP Rankings points behind No. 3 Roger Federer, with only 745 points to defend on hard courts in the first three months. Another surge up the ATP Rankings is definitely on the cards.