In-Form Medvedev Rolls Past Struff In Cincinnati
Russian to face countryman Rublev
Daniil Medvedev continued his excellent form on the North American hard-court swing on Thursday afternoon when he took apart the powerful game of Stefanos Tsitsipas’ conqueror, Jan-Lennard Struff, at the Western & Southern Open.
Ninth seed Medvedev committed just 12 unforced errors and won 18 of his German opponent’s 25 second-service points to triumph 6-3, 6-1 in 66 minutes on Grandstand. Medvedev took a 3-0 lead, before Struff stepped into court to produce his characteristic winners, and the 23-year-old Russian won 17 of the first 21 points in the second set. He extended his FedEx ATP Head2Head record against Struff to 3-0.
The Russian, who is currently in sixth position in the 2019 ATP Race To London for a spot at the Nitto ATP Finals, to be held at The O2 in the English capital from 10-17 November, has now won 11 of his past 13 matches. On Friday, he is set to meet compatriot Andrey Rublev, who produced his best tennis to upset third seed and seven-time former champion Roger Federer 6-3, 6-4.
"I'm really impressed," said Medvedev, who practised with Rublev last week in Montreal. "Many guys have spent all their career trying to beat Roger and they didn’t succeed, and him in the first meeting, he puts 3 and 4 to Roger. That’s just amazing from him and huge respect for that."
While this will be their first tour-level meeting, the Russians faced off three years ago at the Budapest Challenger, a match Medvedev won in straight sets.
"We are good friends, and we know each other quite well since [we were] kids," said Rublev. "It's going to be interesting match for Russia. He's now [the Russian] No. 1, so I have no pressure. Last time we played...he beat me easily. Tomorrow all the pressure will be on him. I will try to enjoy. I will try to do my best tomorrow, and we will see what's going to happen."
The consistent Medvedev, who has a 41-16 match record in 2019, has finished runner-up at two consecutive ATP Tour events — the Citi Open in Washington, D.C. (l. to Kyrgios) and the Coupe Rogers in Montreal (l. to Nadal) — in the past couple of weeks. In February, Medvedev lifted his fourth tour-level trophy at the Sofia Open (d. Fucsovics).
Also in the top half of the draw, Frenchman Lucas Pouille prevented a third Russian from reaching the quarter-finals as he rallied past eighth seed Karen Khachanov 6-7(3), 6-4, 6-2 in one hour and 58 minutes. Khachanov, the reigning Rolex Paris Masters champion, fell to Medvedev last week in the Montreal semi-finals.
Three Russians have reached the quarter-finals at an ATP Masters 1000 event only once in series history (since 1990), when Nikolay Davydenko, Marat Safin and Mikhail Youzhny advanced to this stage 14 years ago in Cincinnati.