Match Report

Medvedev Moves Into Maiden Miami Final

Fourth seed plays Alcaraz or Sinner in championship match
March 31, 2023
Daniil Medvedev in action on Friday in Miami. By ATP Staff

Daniil Medvedev reached his second consecutive ATP Masters 1000 final on Friday when he clawed past long-term friend Karen Khachanov 7-6(5), 3-6, 6-3 at the Miami Open presented by Itau.

Medvedev has passed Novak Djokovic and moved to top spot in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin. He will look to continue his strong season in Sunday's final as he aims to challenge Carlos Alcaraz and Djokovic for the No. 1 Pepperstone ATP Ranking this season.

Medvedev, who rose through the junior and professional ranks with Khachanov, now leads the 26-year-old 4-1 in their ATP Head2Head series. The fourth seed will meet Carlos Alcaraz or Jannik Sinner in the championship match on Sunday in his fifth consecutive final.

The 27-year-old is 28-3 on the season, having won 23 of his past 24 matches. Medvedev, who lifted trophies in Rotterdam, Doha and Dubai during that run, has now advanced to the final at all hard-court ATP Masters 1000 events. He lost to Alcaraz in the championship match in Indian Wells earlier this month.

"I think I made six finals [in a row] in 2019, so I have some margin," Medvedev said when reflecting on reaching five consecutive finals. "It is a pity it is clay season after, but I am going to try. I am really happy with my results so far but it is not over. Final on Sunday and I have to be at my best to try to win it.

"I have to believe in myself. I know I am capable of winning big titles. I know I can play well and beat anybody. Carlos is on fire right now but you can't win 100 matches in a row. At one moment someone is going to put the water on the fire. It might be Sinner today, it might be me on Sunday, it might be someone else next tournament. You have to believe in yourself. You have to try your best. I am going to enjoy their match and be prepared for the winner."

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In a tight clash in South Florida, Medvedev recovered from a second-set dip and survived an attacking bombardment from Khachanov to earn his 28th win of the season. The fourth seed hit his flat groundstrokes with consistency to force Khachanov into errors in the third set, while he absorbed the 14th seed’s thunderous forehand to triumph after two hours and 17 minutes.

"In my opinion, it was a top match," Medvedev said. "In the first set when we lost our serves, it was just a good game from the returner. In the second set I had one bad game and he won the set. I had one break point, I could have done better. He had a break point in the first game of the third set, I managed to play well. He had one bad game in the third set, I managed to take it and I am really happy to be through. It was a very tough match."

Medvedev will rise to No. 4 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings if he wins his fifth ATP Masters 1000 title and fourth trophy of the season in South Florida.

Competing inside Hard Rock Stadium, Medvedev had the opportunity to close out the first set when he led 5-3, but failed to convert a set point on serve, with Khachanov breaking back. Medvedev quickly regrouped, though, and capitalised on a missed forehand from his opponent at 5/4 in the first-set tie-break to clinch the opener.

Medvedev left the court after the first set to change clothing and struggled to find the same intensity on return, with Khachanov soaring into a 3-0 lead. The 14th seed didn’t let up, striking 17 winners and committing four unforced errors in the second set to level.

With a third set left to decide the match, it was Medvedev who found a way, winning 82 per cent (14/17) of his first-serve points in the set to reach his eighth ATP Masters 1000 final.

Khachanov was aiming to advance to his first ATP Masters 1000 final since 2018, when he triumphed at the Rolex Paris Masters. Despite Friday’s loss, Khachanov stated that the margins between winning and losing were slim in the high-quality quarter-final contest.

“To be honest with you, I think it was really one of the greatest matches lately,” Khachanov said. “I felt from the beginning until the end in terms of level, in terms of speed, intensity, attitude, everything, from the beginning till the end… It was a really, really close, equal match.”

The 26-year-old is choosing to keep his head high after climbing five spots to No. 11 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings following a strong Miami run.

“I must say it's maybe a little bit unlucky in a way, but of course [Daniil] deserves totally to win,” Khachanov said. “I think both of us really showed our best today. We fought hard. I mean, we gave [a] good match for the crowd.

“In a way, it's a pity that I lost, but I'm happy and proud of myself the way the things are right now.”

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