Dominant Daniil: Medvedev Marches Into Cincinnati Semis
Qualifier Andrey Rublev put together an impressive run at the Western & Southern Open, defeating the man who beat him in last month’s Hamburg final (Nikoloz Basilashvili), a former World No. 3 (Stan Wawrinka) and a seven-time Cincinnati champion (Roger Federer). But on Friday evening, the two-time Next Gen ATP Finals qualifier ran into a wall. A Daniil Medvedev wall, that is.
The red-hot Medvedev ousted his compatriot 6-2, 6-3 after 61 minutes to reach his second ATP Masters 1000 semi-final in as many weeks after reaching his first championship match at this level at the Coupe Rogers in Montreal. Medvedev, playing at a career-high No. 8 in the ATP Rankings in Ohio, is projected to climb to at least No. 7 on Monday pending his results the rest of the tournament.
"I played great. I think I managed to [pressure him] straight away as [I have] every match I played here. In both sets I was breaking him early, giving me a lot of confidence,” Medvedev said. “I was not serving that good today, but in the crucial moments I was able to do it and that was the most important.”"
Medvedev, who is now a perfect 3-0 in Masters 1000 quarter-finals, has not lost a set en route to the last four. This time last season, Medvedev was the World No. 56, and he lost in the first round of the main draw in Cincinnati after having to go through qualifying.
Medvedev will face defending champion and World No. 1 Novak Djokovic on Saturday for a spot in the final. If the Russian advances, he will battle for a trophy for the third consecutive week after falling just short in Washington, D.C. and Montreal.
"Novak is Novak," Medvedev said. "There is actually nothing to say about him. Just huge respect."
In stunning Federer on Thursday, Rublev played lights-out tennis to earn his second consecutive victory when facing a Top 5 opponent (Thiem in Hamburg). But he struggled on serve against his countryman, losing serve four times.
Rublev was not able to find the level he did earlier in the tournament, but Medvedev also acted like a backboard, allowing his 21-year-old opponent to make the mistakes he did. The 2017 Umag champion won just 65 per cent of his first-serve points, and was unable to elicit many short balls to get in a rhythm with his offence.
Medvedev was strong on serve himself, striking nine aces and facing only one break point in the match. Although the ninth seed did give up a break with a 4-0 lead in the first set, he was already up two breaks, so it did not have a major impact on the match.
The four-time ATP Tour titlist has now played 14 singles matches in less than three weeks. But what has helped is that all 12 of his wins have come in straight sets, as have his two losses during this stretch.
"I'm getting a little bit tired, of course, step by step with all the matches. [It] helps that I win in straight sets, or [that I am] losing in straight sets also," Medvedev said. "Otherwise, I think one match 7-6 in the third could be tough for me. But so far, I [am] feeling great, feeling good about my tennis."