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Daniil Medvedev is the top seed this week in Cincinnati, where he will play Botic van de Zandschulp in his opening match.

Medvedev's Cincinnati Breakthrough: From 4:30 a.m. Arrival To Champion

World No. 1 reflects on first ATP Masters 1000 title

Daniil Medvedev will forever remember the Western & Southern Open, but not just for the reason you would expect.

Medvedev claimed his first ATP Masters 1000 title three years ago in Cincinnati, which will forever remain a special moment for him. But a lot happened behind the scenes that fans did not know at the time.

On Sunday, the 26-year-old revealed that it was unlikely he would make it through one match at the Lindner Family Tennis Center that year. The week before, Medvedev advanced to his first Masters 1000 final in Montreal. He was invited on a charter flight to Cincinnati, but that is where things went awry.

“The plane was delayed, maybe there was a thunderstorm or something,” Medvedev said. “I remember coming to my room and I was the No. 9 seed, so I was just one out from [getting] a bye and playing Wednesday, so I had to play Tuesday. I came [to] my room at like 4:30 in the morning [on Monday].”

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Since Medvedev was the ninth seed, he did not receive a bye in Ohio. Therefore, not only did he need to recover from a 4:30 a.m. hotel arrival on Monday to get used to the new conditions — he needed to be ready to play Tuesday.

“I was completely destroyed. I also played the Washington final. I was destroyed and I was like, ‘Okay, I’m going to try to play’, but I didn’t have [many] expectations,” Medvedev said. “Every match was the same, something was hurting, I was really tired, I was like, ‘Just go through this and let’s see how it goes’.”

The right-hander made it through his first-round match against Kyle Edmund 6-2, 7-5 and never looked back. The only set he dropped was in the semi-finals against Novak Djokovic, who the year before had completed the Career Golden Masters in Cincinnati.

“I have pretty amazing memories, especially playing my best matches, starting from the quarters and of course the match against Novak, where he was one set to love up. Amazing,” Medvedev said. “That’s why I always love coming here. The tournament didn’t really change from three years ago. I love this atmosphere, because I was always playing good here, especially starting from four years ago. I hope to do the same this year.” 

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Medvedev arrives following an opening-round loss in Montreal to Nick Kyrgios. However, the recent Los Cabos champion is not stressing that defeat too much.

“Talking about the match with Nick, I played good. I lost the match, so the result was, let’s put it this way, terrible losing first round, if we don’t talk about who I lost and which match,” Medvedev said. “But because of… the last years and the way I’m feeling right now, I’m feeling confident for Cincinnati and [the] US Open itself.

The top seed, who is now a four-time Masters 1000 champion, will try to find the magic again in Cincinnati, beginning with his opening match against Dutchman Botic van de Zandschulp.

“For sure [I] want to try to win as many matches as possible here to grow this confidence of winning matches for the US Open. But we’ll take it match by match. As we see in the draw, I feel that the draw is very, very packed,” Medvedev said. “Sometimes you have somebody retiring here and there, somebody tired from the season, maybe not in the best shape here. When I look at the draw I’m like wow, every match we have, even in the first round, is a tough match.”

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