Medvedev's Magical Run: The Russian's Journey To Three Titles & Three Finals
When Daniil Medvedev arrived at the Citi Open in July, the Russian was the No. 10 player in the ATP Rankings, freshly minted into the elite group. He has been on a tear ever since, reaching the final or lifting the trophy at six consecutive tournaments, including his first two ATP Masters 1000 titles — in Cincinnati and Shanghai — and his maiden Grand Slam final at the US Open.
Medvedev, who is 29-3 since returning to the hard courts after Wimbledon, is now at a career-high World No. 4. He has earned five of his eight victories against Top 10 opposition during this three-month span, and his 59 tour-level wins in 2019 are 11 more than Novak Djokovic — who is second on the ATP Tour — has this season.
ATPTour.com looks back at Medvedev's magical run over the past three months following his triumph at the Rolex Shanghai Masters.
Citi Open - Finalist, l. to Nick Kyrgios
Medvedev was coming off a disappointing third-round exit at Wimbledon, where he led Belgian David Goffin two sets to one. But he got back on track on the American hard courts, winning four matches in straight sets — including a victory over former World No. 3 Marin Cilic — to reach the final.
In the championship match, Medvedev fell short in two tie-breaks against the always dangerous Nick Kyrgios. The Russian was unable to earn a break point.
“He's been one of the most consistent players I think for the last year and a half. He's been winning titles. Probably a contender at any event he plays. He's so solid,” Kyrgios said. “It could have been him sitting here. It was a couple of points here and there. He probably should have won the first set and then it could have been a different story.”
Coupe Rogers - Finalist, l. to Rafael Nadal
Medvedev had reached only one prior ATP Masters 1000 semi-final (2019 Monte-Carlo) when he arrived in Montreal. But the Russian maintained the momentum he accumulated in Washington, D.C., and played inspired tennis to reach his first championship match at the level.
In the final, he managed to win just three games in his first FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting with Nadal, but he was not deterred. In his post-match press conference, Medvedev said on five occasions that he had to, “do better next time”. Little did he know what the future held.
Western & Southern Open - Champion, d. David Goffin
The Monaco resident showed little disappointment after falling to Nadal in the Montreal final, reaching the Cincinnati semi-finals without dropping a set. There, he met World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, whom he defeated for the first time on the clay of Monte-Carlo.
It appeared Djokovic would not lose to him again when he earned a break point with a 6-3, 3-2 30/40 lead. But Medvedev turned up the aggression, going for huge second serves and taking the game to the top seed, prevailing in three sets.
Medvedev did not look back from there, overcoming late-match cramps to beat David Goffin in the final for his first Masters 1000 title.
“It's been the best weeks in my life. I mean, [my] mentality was the best in my life. My serve was the best in my life. My tennis was really consistent,” Medvedev said. “I didn't have one bad match. I'm just extremely happy, and hopefully I can continue this way well through all my career, but hopefully at least next few weeks.”
US Open - Finalist, l. to Rafael Nadal
Had Medvedev played too many matches over the North American hard-court summer to make an impact at the season’s final Grand Slam? Early in the tournament, the Russian struggled with nagging injuries, but pushed through four consecutive four-setters to make his first major semi-final.
Before the US Open, Medvedev had made the fourth round of a Slam only once. But he showed no nerves against 2017 Nitto ATP Finals champion Grigor Dimitrov in the last four, defeating the Bulgarian in straight sets to earn a rematch with Nadal.
Nadal once again stormed into the lead, winning the first two sets and breaking in the third set. But Medvedev showed his resolve, battling hard to extend the legendary lefty to a deciding set before ultimately succumbing after four hours and 51 minutes.
“He's 23. The year that he's having is just very impressive. He has a great, great future in front [of him],” Nadal said. “I really believe that, of course, he will be able to win Grand Slams, a couple of them. Let's see. In this life, is impossible to predict the future. But his career looks very, very well.”
Medvedev won all four of his matches in straight sets to claim his sixth ATP Tour title. Entering the final against Borna Coric, Medvedev had lost three consecutive matches against the Croat (all in 2018). But you wouldn’t have guessed it, as Medvedev dropped only four games.
“After the match, you could see how happy I was. Especially beating Borna, who is an amazing player," said Medvedev. "I lost three times to him last year in a row. It was an amazing final and an amazing week. Many people didn’t believe in me this week… I came here to win and I did it.”
Rolex Shanghai Masters - Champion, d. Alexander Zverev
There are only four active players who have reached six consecutive tour-level finals, and they all have reached the top spot in the ATP Rankings. Medvedev joined Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Andy Murray as the only players to accomplish the feat when he ousted reigning Next Gen ATP Finals champion Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Shanghai semi-finals.
Zverev, last year’s Nitto ATP Finals titlist, came into his first Masters 1000 final with a head of steam after eliminating Roger Federer and Matteo Berrettini in back-to-back matches. But the German knew he had his work cut out for him against Medvedev, whom he said before the match, “in the past few months, he's probably the best player in the world.”
Medvedev proved Zverev right, winning his first FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting against the 22-year-old on his fifth try to claim his second Masters 1000 trophy.
"Everybody is talking that they need new guys, something new, so I gave them something new," Medvedev said. "I don’t celebrate my wins. I just stay calm, I do my job. Boom, done."