Medvedev Sinks Shapovalov To Book QF Spot In Cincinnati
Daniil Medvedev showed further signs of improvement at the Western & Southern Open Thursday, when he backed up his opening-round win over Botic van de Zandschulp with a victory against dynamic lefty Denis Shapovalov.
The 26-year-old overcame Canadian Shapovalov 7-5, 7-5 in one hour and 45 minutes to reach his second ATP Masters 1000 quarter-final of the season. The top seed suffered a disappointing second-round loss against Nick Kyrgios in Montreal last week, but he is looking back to his best on the courts in Cincinnati.
Medvedev hit his flat backhand with consistency, while he stood deep behind the baseline on return to soak up Shapovalov’s lefty serve and penetrating forehand, improving to 3-2 in their ATP Head2Head series.
“The match was pretty tight. I felt that it was a great level. I felt that he was missing a bit more than me but making more points, but that is how Shapo plays,” Medvedev said in his on-court interview. “My goal was to stay there every point possible and try and put pressure on him when I had the chance. But there were many points where I was just running across the baseline, trying to get back his shots. Generally happy with the level.”
“Taylor is a great player. We have hit quite a few times. Before ATP Cup we had a session and I think he beat me, which doesn’t really matter, but I said to my coach, ‘Wow he can play really well, it can be a good year for him.’ Then he won Indian Wells," Medvedev said. "Maybe he could have done better at some other tournaments, but he is a Masters  champion. He is an amazing player and I need to be at my best to try and beat him.”
With his victory, Medvedev has improved his record in Ohio to 13-4. The 26-year-old lifted his maiden Masters 1000 crown at the hard-court event in 2019, before he enjoyed a run to the semi-finals last season. He is looking to capture his second title of the season this week, after triumphing in Los Cabos earlier this month.
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In a hard-fought first clash, Shapovalov continuously tried to pull Medvedev around the court, dancing around the ball to strike his forehand into the corners. However, the top seed has become renowned for being able to dig deep and soak up pressure and that was on show during the key moments.
Medvedev forced Shapovalov to overhit during the 11th game of the first set as he gained the decisive break, before the pressure overwhelmed Shapovalov again during the latter stages of the second set, when Medvedev’s watertight groundstrokes forced the Canadian to make one error to many on serve at 5-5. Medvedev then swept through his final service game to advance.
Medvedev's defensive skills frustrated Shapovalov throughout the match and is shown in his INSIGHTS: Steal Score. The top seed won 39 per cent of points when defending, well above the Tour average of 34 per cent. This was in contrast to Shapovalov, who earned just 23 per cent of points when on the back foot.
Shapovalov earned consecutive wins for the first time since May when he defeated Tommy Paul to reach the third round in Cincinnati. However, he was unable to hit through Medvedev and advance to the quarter-finals for the first time in Ohio.