Struff Hangs Tough To Upset Tsitsipas; Medvedev Next In Cincinnati
Medvedev earns 10th win in past 12 matches
Jan-Lennard Struff packed a punch at the Western & Southern Open on Wednesday to record his fifth win in his past 10 matches against Top 10 opponents. The German weathered two comebacks from fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in a 6-4, 6-7(5), 7-6(6) victory over two hours and 14 minutes in Cincinnati.
Struff struck 16 aces, won 85 per cent of his first-service points and came through his eighth win in 10 matches featuring a deciding-set tie-break, to set up a third-round clash against another 2019 Nitto ATP Finals contender, Daniil Medvedev, on Thursday.
“It was a great match, he is such a good player,” Struff told ATPTour.com. “I managed to win in Barcelona [in April], so I knew I had a good chance. I had a chance to serve it out at 6-4, 5-4, but he broke back and that’s the quality he has. The quality I had today was coming back from that: the chance to win the match in two sets, then at 6/3 in the [third set] tie-break and then from 6/6. He was playing very well. I was telling myself, ‘I have to go for it, otherwise I won’t win.'
"I've been working hard with my team, on my fitness, and it’s all finally paying off and I’m playing with greater consistency.”
The 29-year-old Struff produced heavyweight firepower to lead by a set and 2-0, but a stunning backhand return winner from Tsitsipas, on his first break point of the match at 4-5 in the second set, provided impetus for the #NextGenATP Greek star to recover.
Fifth seed Tsitsipas showed great maturity in his shot selection to recover four straight points from 0/30 when serving at 4-5 in the decider. Struff led 4/1 in the third set tie-break, but saw Tsitsipas save three match points from 3/6 before he found a way to victory.
Struff improves to a 28-19 match record in 2019, which includes semi-final runs at the ASB Classic in Auckland (l. to Norrie) and the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart (l. to Berrettini). He’ll now look to notch his first win over Medvedev, who has won their two previous FedEx ATP Head2Head matches at 2016 Hamburg and 2017 Marseille.
Ninth seed Medvedev continued his fine run of form on the North American hard-court swing, recording his 10th victory in 12 matches with a 7-6(2), 6-1 win over Benoit Paire of France in 78 minutes. The Russian, who is currently one place behind Tsitsipas in sixth position in the 2019 ATP Race To London, has finished runner-up at the Citi Open (l. to Kyrgios) in Washington, D.C. and the Coupe Rogers (l. to Nadal) in Montreal over the past two weeks.
“It was a tough match and it’s so hot today,” Medvedev told ATPTour.com. “Looking at the TV, I’m not the only one who is suffering. It was a really tough first set, where he was up a break and I knew I had to stay in it. After I won the first set, everything went my way. I am tired, after two finals in a row, so it’s not easy, but I have a lot of confidence and that can affect my opponents’ games.”