Medvedev Marches To Shapo Final Clash In Vienna
Daniil Medvedev came up against a confident opponent striking the ball cleanly on Saturday at the Erste Bank Open for the second day in a row. The top seed had all the answers.
Medvedev was imperious in downing Grigor Dimitrov 6-4, 6-2 in the pair’s semi-final clash at the ATP 500 event. Just as it had against Jannik Sinner in Friday’s quarter-finals, the 26-year-old’s relentless retrieving and precise serving proved the difference as he charged to a 85-minute victory to reach the championship match in Vienna for the first time.
“It was a great match,” said Medvedev. “There were a few moments in the match where I thought I should have done just a little bit better, to go in front earlier and try to build the pressure earlier. Then I managed to stay consistent and, in the most important points, managed to raise my level. That was enough today, and I’m really happy with my level.”
Dimitrov had hit his stride en route to the semi-finals in Vienna, where he was particularly impressive in taking out third seed Andrey Rublev in the second round. Yet despite hitting 21 winners to Medvedev’s 17, he could not penetrate the top seed’s defence frequently enough to gain a strong foothold in the match.
Just as in his previous wins against Nikoloz Basilashvili, Dominic Thiem and Sinner this week, Medvedev was dialled in on serve against Dimitrov. He won 87 per cent (27/31) of points behind his first delivery to improve his ATP Head2Head series record against the Bulgarian to 4-2.
“The serve is probably the most important shot in tennis,” said Medvedev. “I was lacking it a little bit this season, I was doing too many double faults. Sometimes in important moments my serve could have been a little bit better. I was working a lot with my coach to try and find this rhythm [again], and so far I’m serving good here. I’m really happy about it and that’s also why I’m playing so good.”
Medvedev, who is yet to drop his serve this week across four matches in Vienna, will face Denis Shapovalov in Sunday’s final as he chases his second tour-level title of the season. The Canadian also enjoyed a straight-sets semi-final win, defeating Borna Coric 7-6(4), 6-0.
Shapovalov edged Coric in a hard-fought opening set that featured no break points by raising his level in the tie-break, and Coric had no answer to the Canadian’s big hitting in the second set. Shapovalov stormed to his second tour-level championship match of the season after racking up 26 winners and converting three of his four break point opportunities.
“I’m just happy to get through and be in another final this season, beating some top guys and great players along the way,” said Shapovalov after the match. “I’m very happy with my performances this week and today was another amazing match. Obviously, Borna’s playing some great tennis, he beat some great players this week, so really happy to win today and really happy with my game.”
After winning his first two ATP Head2Head meetings with Medvedev, Shapovalov has fallen to straight-sets defeats in the past three tour-level clashes between the pair. The Canadian is aware of the challenge he faces against the in-form top seed in Sunday’s championship match but is nonetheless confident as he plays for his second ATP Tour title.
“It’s super tough,” said the Canadian. “I’ve struggled against him in the last couple of matches that we’ve played. He’s an extremely difficult opponent to play against. He bothers a lot of guys, so it’s going to be a difficult matchup, [but] I’m confident in myself, I think I’m playing some really good tennis. I’m going to take it to him and battle my heart out.”