US Open

Why A Fast Start Could Be Key For Medvedev’s US Open Title Chances

World No. 3 has been ATP Tour’s best frontrunner in 2023
September 09, 2023
Daniil Medvedev is chasing his sixth tour-level title of the season in Sunday's US Open championship match.
Corinne Dubreuil/ATP Tour
Daniil Medvedev is chasing his sixth tour-level title of the season in Sunday's US Open championship match. By ATP Staff

Once Daniil Medvedev has control, he rarely relinquishes it.

In 2023, the World No. 3 has lost just once in 48 tour-level matches in which he has won the first set. Adrian Mannarino’s 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 second-round victory in ‘s-Hertogenbosch in June makes the Frenchman the only owner of a comeback victory against Medvedev this season.

Medvedev’s masterclass in frontrunning is not a new trend, either. He is now 272-28 across his career after winning the opening set. Those statistics from Infosys ATP Stats suggest the 27-year-old will take a big step towards his second major title by starting fast against Novak Djokovic in Sunday’s US Open championship match.

Highest Win Percentage After Winning First Set, 2023

Win %
Daniil Medvedev
47-1  97.9
Stefanos Tsitsipas
Lorenzo Musetti
Novak Djokovic

A look at Medvedev’s previous victories against Djokovic also suggests the opening set could be crucial. Four of his five Lexus ATP Head2Head victories against the Serbian came after he won the first set, with his only comeback victory coming in the pair's Cincinnati semi-final in 2019.

However, there are also fewer opponents who are likely to be less bothered by such numbers than 23-time Grand Slam titlist Djokovic, renowned for his ability to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat and especially when it comes to five-set battles at the majors.

The Serbian has been almost as capable a frontrunner as Medvedev this year (he is 38-2 in 2023 after winning the opening set), and the numbers also indicate Djokovic does not rely as heavily on a fast start as his championship-match opponent. Medvedev is 8-10 this season after dropping the opening set, while Djokovic by comparison is 6-3.

So the first box for Medvedev to tick when he steps out on Arthur Ashe Stadium? Start fast and take the opening set. The second? To put his foot down and don’t look back… Just like he did in his straight-sets victory against the Serbian in the 2021 final at Flushing Meadows.

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