Medvedev Makes Miami Breakthrough
Just two days after surviving cramps in his third-round win against Alexei Popyrin, Daniil Medvedev earned a place in his maiden Miami Open presented by Itau quarter-final on Tuesday with a 6-4, 6-3 win against Frances Tiafoe.
In hot and humid conditions on Grandstand, the World No. 2 landed 24 winners and outlasted his opponent in baseline rallies to advance in 92 minutes. Medvedev, who is competing as the top seed at an ATP Masters 1000 event for the first time, is chasing his fourth trophy at the level this week.
“It was definitely a tough match,” said Medvedev. “[There were] a lot of great points, some of them he won, some of them I won… The serve helped me a lot today, especially in the second set.”
This year, Medvedev has already led Russia to the ATP Cup trophy and collected his 10th ATP Tour crown in Marseille. The reigning Nitto ATP Finals champion improved to 17-2 in 2021 with his fourth win in as many ATP Head2Head clashes against Tiafoe.
Medvedev will face Roberto Bautista Agut for a place in the semi-finals. In the opening match on Grandstand, the Spaniard saved a match point to defeat 2018 champion John Isner 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(7) in two hours and 18 minutes.
“I don’t really care about ATP Head2Head, because it is always a new match. We saw some with Roger when he is like 15-0 against someone and the guy finally gets a win in maybe an important match.
"I am just looking forward to tomorrow. Roberto is a hell of a player. I feel like sometimes, when I have practised with him and played against him, that his Ranking should be higher. There are reasons why it is not and I am going to try to do something with it tomorrow.”
The Russian will enter that match seeking his first win against the seventh seed. Bautista Agut defeated Medvedev in the 2017 Tata Open Maharashtra final and also overcame the 6’6” right-hander in last year’s Western & Southern Open quarter-finals.
In a high-quality match, both players battled for baseline supremacy with 29 rallies passing the nine-shot mark (16-13 Medvedev). Tiafoe played with consistent aggression to push Medvedev into defensive positions, but it was the Russian who snatched late breaks in each set.
Medvedev charged across the baseline to extend rallies at 5-4 in the opener and capitalised on errors to take a one-set lead. In the second set, the Russian fired consecutive backhand winners, including a return winner on break point at 4-3, to serve for the match. Medvedev ended the fourth-round encounter with his 11th ace of the match.
Tiafoe was aiming to reach his second Miami quarter-final (2018). The 23-year-old battled through consecutive three-set matches against Stefano Travaglia, 19th seed Daniel Evans and 16th seed Dusan Lajovic to reach the Round of 16.