UPDATED: Medvedev Defeats Djokovic To Win US Open Men’s Final

Medvedev Defeats Djokovic To Win US Open Men’s Final
Daniil Medvedev celebrates with the championship trophy after defeating Novak Djokovic to win the US Open Men’s Singles final match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center In New York on September 12, 2021.  Matthew Stockman/Getty Images/AFP

 


Daniil Medvedev shattered Novak Djokovic’s Grand Slam dream with a straight-sets victory in the US Open final on Sunday, denying the world number one a record-breaking 21st major men’s singles title.

Russia’s second-ranked Medvedev dominated Djokovic 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 to prevent the first calendar-year Grand Slam since 1969 and keep Djokovic level with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal atop the career Slam title list.

“Sorry for you fans and Novak because we all know what he was going for,” Medvedev said.

“What you have accomplished in your career… for me, you are the greatest tennis player in history.”

Medvedev, the 2019 US Open runner-up, captured his first Grand Slam title in his third Slam final, a rematch of February’s Australian Open final, won in straight sets by the 34-year-old Serbian to launch his Slam quest.

“Congratulations to Daniil. Amazing match,” Djokovic said. “If there’s anyone that deserves a Grand Slam title right now, it’s you.”

Djokovic’s bid to sweep the US, French and Australian Opens, and Wimbledon in the same year for the first time since Rod Laver did it 52 years ago collapsed at the last hurdle, with 83-year-old Aussie legend Laver among 23,700 watching at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

READ ALSO: 18-Year-Old Raducanu Wins Women’s US Open Final

Medvedev Defeats Djokovic To Win US Open Men’s Final
Novak Djokovic (L) holds the runner-up trophy alongside Daniil Medvedev who celebrates with the championship trophy after winning the match. Matthew Stockman/Getty Images/AFP

 

 

Djokovic missed out on his fourth US Open title and will enter 2022 tied with “Big Three” rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, both absent with injuries, on an all-time record 20 men’s Slam titles.

A tearful Djokovic paid tribute to the crowd that roared support for him even when all seemed lost down two sets and two breaks.

“Even though I have not won the match, my heart is filled with joy and I’m the happiest man alive because you guys have made me feel special on the court,” Djokovic said.

“You guys touch my soul. I’ve never felt like this in New York.”

Instead of joining immortals Laver and Don Budge, who completed the first men’s Slam in 1938, Djokovic became the third man to fall at the final match attempting to complete the Slam after Australians Jack Crawford in 1933 and Lew Hoad in 1956.

Djokovic saw his 27-match Slam win streak halted three victories shy of the record he set in 2015 and 2016 when he won four consecutive Slams, ending with the 2016 French Open.

Medvedev, 25, became the third Russian man to win a Grand Slam title after Yevgeny Kafelnikov at the 1996 French Open and 1999 Australian Open and Marat Safin at the 2000 US Open and 2005 Australian Open.

Struggle from the start

In the biggest of Djokovic’s 1,176 career matches, he made two unforced forehand errors to surrender a break in the first game to Medvedev, who held through to take the first set in 36 minutes, never facing a break point.

It was the fifth consecutive match in which Djokovic dropped the first set.

Medvedev dropped only three points on his serve in the first set but lost that many to open his first service game in the second.

Djokovic, however, squandered his break chances and Medvedev held to 1-1.

Medvedev hit a backhand wide to give Djokovic a break chance in the fourth game but he netted a forehand volley.

After botching a forehand on the following point, Djokovic shattered his racquet and on the next sent a backhand long as Medvedev held to 2-2.

In the fifth game, Djokovic mis-hit a backhand volley to hand Medvedev a break and a 3-2 lead, and the Russian held three times to claim the set.

Medvedev broke to begin the third set and again in the third game when a botched volley seemed to signal the end of the Slam chase.

Djokovic held at love in the fifth game but Medvedev held again to 5-1 and served for the match in the eighth game.

Medvedev double-faulted on championship point and again, then netted a forehand to surrender a break that kept Djokovic in the match.

“It was not easy,” Medvedev said.

Serving again for the match at 5-4, Medvedev double-faulted on his second match point but finally got over the line on his third chance with a service winner after two hours and 16 minutes.

AFP

Djokovic To Play For Grand Slam Against Medvedev In US Open Final

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic celebrates after winning his 2021 US Open Tennis tournament men’s semifinal match against Germany’s Alexander Zverev at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York, on September 10, 2021. (Photo by Kena Betancur / AFP)

 

 

Novak Djokovic will play Daniil Medvedev to try and complete the first men’s singles calendar-year Grand Slam since 1969 after defeating Tokyo Olympic champion Alexander Zverev in Friday’s US Open semi-finals.

Top-ranked Djokovic outlasted the German fourth seed 4-6, 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 to reach Sunday’s championship match at Arthur Ashe Stadium against Russian second seed Medvedev.

“I’m going to treat the next match like it’s the last match of my career,” Djokovic said.

One more victory will give the 34-year-old Serbian star the first calendar-year Slam since Rod Laver accomplished it 52 years ago.

“There s only one more match left. All in. Let’s do it,” Djokovic said. “I’m going to put my heart and my soul and my body and my head into that one.”

Djokovic seeks his fourth career US Open title and his 21st overall Slam crown, which would lift him one above the all-time record he shares with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, both absent with injuries.

“These are the moments we live for,” Djokovic said. “These are the kind of unique opportunities we dream of when we are looking for motivation.”

Australian legend Laver, 83, was in the stands to watch as Djokovic took a measure of revenge for Zverev, 24, beating him in an Olympic semi-final, denying Djokovic’s bid for a “Golden Slam” with a Tokyo gold medal.

“I knew coming onto the court it was going to be a great battle,” Djokovic said. “Alexander is a big champion. He’s someone I admire on and off the court.”

Russia’s Daniil Medvedev hits a return to Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime during their 2021 US Open Tennis tournament men’s semifinal match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York, on September 10, 2021. TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP

 

Medvedev, the 2019 US Open runner-up, defeated Canadian 12th seed Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-4, 7-5, 6-2 to reach his third career Slam final.

“I don’t think I played my best today but I’m really happy to be in the final,” Medvedev said.

Djokovic is the oldest US Open finalist since Andre Agassi at 35 in 2005 and could be the oldest US Open champion since Ken Rosewall at 35 in 1970.

By beating Zverev, Djokovic matched Federer’s all-time record of 31 men’s Slam final appearances. Djokovic is 20-10 in major finals.

The final is a rematch of February’s Australian Open final won by Djokovic in straight sets. Medvedev trails Djokovic 5-3 in their all-time rivalry.

“If I can make this, I’ll probably be in the history books a little bit somewhere like not letting him do this,” Medvedev said. “But I don’t really care about it. I think it’s more about him, that it affects him.

“I’m just going to throw it everything and I’m definitely not going to be thinking about Grand Slam or whatever.”

Djokovic has won 27 consecutive Slam matches, three shy of his all-time record streak from 2015 and 2016 when he won all four major titles in a row.

Zverev, last year’s US Open runner-up, saw his 16-match win streak end.

In the fifth set, Djokovic broke after an extended rally with a forehand passing winner to 2-0 and Zverev swatted back-to-back forehands long to go down 4-0. Djokovic broke again in the eighth to book his date with history after three hours and 34 minutes.

Djokovic double-faulted away a break in the ninth game and Zverev held to claim the first set in 36 minutes.

Having dropped the first set for the fourth consecutive match, Djokovic dominated the second, never facing a break point.

A 10th-game groundstrokes battle in the third set saw a 53-shot rally ended by a Zverev forehand winner to save set point and draw a roar from the crowd, but Djokovic hit an overhead smash on the next point for the break to capture the set.

In the fourth, Zverev broke to 2-1 with a forehand winner and held from there.

 

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic (R) hugs with Germany’s Alexander Zverev after winning their 2021 US Open Tennis tournament men’s semifinal match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York, on September 10, 2021. (Photo by Kena Betancur / AFP)

 

Breaking Mentally

Auger-Aliassime lost two set points and was broken in the ninth game of the second set and Medvedev broke again at love on the way to taking the set to seize command of the match.

“I knew I had to do everything at my best because at that point in the match I knew I could break him mentally and that’s what happened,” Medvedev said.

In all Medvedev took 11 of the final 13 games, ending matters with an overhead smash after two hours and four minutes.

“I had to play my best level and even better if I wanted to get a chance to win,” Auger-Aliassime said. “I didn’t do it long enough. Overall Daniil was the better player.”

US Open Tennis: Men’s Semi-Final Head-To-Heads

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 08: Alexander Zverev of Germany returns against Lloyd Harris of South Africa during his Men’s Singles quarterfinals match on Day Ten of the 2021 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 08, 2021 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. Elsa/Getty Images/AFP

 

Head-to-head prior results for the US Open men’s semi-finals (x denotes seed):

Daniil Medvedev (RUS x2) v. Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN x12)

Medvedev leads 1-0

2018 Toronto Hard R32 Medvedev 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (9/7)

Alexander Zverev (GER x4) v. Novak Djokovic (SRB x1)

Djokovic leads 6-3

2017 Rome Clay F Zverev 6-4, 6-3

2018 Shanghai Hard SF Djokovic 6-2, 6-1

2018 ATP Finals Hard RR Djokovic 6-4, 6-1

2018 ATP Finals Hard F Zverev 6-4, 6-3

2019 French Open Clay QF Djokovic 7-5, 6-2, 6-2

2020 ATP Finals Hard RR Djokovic 6-3, 7-6 (7/4)

2021 ATP Cup Hard RR Djokovic 6-7 (3/7), 6-2, 7-5

2021 Australian Open Hard QF Djokovic 6-7 (6/8), 6-2, 6-4, 7-6 (8/6)

2021 Olympics Hard SF Zverev 1-6, 6-3, 6-1

Medvedev, Fernandez Advance To US Open Semi-Finals

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 07: Daniil Medvedev of Russia serves against Botic van de Zandschulp of Netherlands during his Men’s Singles quarterfinals match on Day Nine of the 2021 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 07, 2021 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. Elsa/Getty Images/AFP (Photo by ELSA / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

 

 

 

Daniil Medvedev advanced to his third straight US Open semi-final on Tuesday while Canadian 19-year-old Leylah Fernandez delivered another stunner to reach the last four of a Grand Slam for the first time.

Russian second seed Medvedev, chasing his first Slam title, eliminated 117th-ranked Dutch qualifier Botic Van de Zandschulp 6-3, 6-0, 4-6, 7-5 at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

“I just want to do a little bit better than the last two times and get this extra step, which is the toughest one, actually,” Medvedev said.

Medvedev moved one victory from a possible championship match against history-chasing Novak Djokovic.

The 25-year-old from Moscow was a 2019 US Open runner-up and lost this year’s Australian Open final to top-ranked Djokovic, who seeks his fourth US Open title to complete the first men’s singles calendar-year Grand Slam since Rod Laver in 1969.

“I don’t think about him, because as we saw, anybody can beat anybody,” Medvedev said. “If he’s in the final, and if I’m there, I’m happy. He’s also happy, I guess.”

Fernandez, who had already ousted defending champion Naomi Osaka and three-time Slam winner Angelique Kerber, defeated Ukraine’s fifth-seeded Elina Svitolina 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (7/5).

“I told myself to trust my shots,” Fernandez said. “Even if I lose, I’ve got to go for it. And I’m glad I did.”

Fernandez, ranked 73rd, was inspired by pre-match strategy from her father/coach Jorge, a former Ecuadoran football player.

“He told me to go out and have fun, fight for every point,” she said. “It’s your first Grand Slam quarter-final. Don’t make it your last. Don’t make it your last match over here. Fight for your dream.”

Medvedev will next face Canadian 12th seed Felix Auger-Aliassime, 21, who reached his first Slam semi-final when 55th-ranked Spanish 18-year-old Carlos Alcaraz retired trailing 6-3, 3-1 with a leg injury.

“It’s an amazing milestone,” said Auger-Aliassime. “It’s a weird way to end but I’ll have a chance to play one of the best players in the world.

“I’m happy I’m through and I’ll try to win the next one.”

Medvedev won his only meeting with Auger-Aliassime in Canada in 2018.

 

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 07: Daniil Medvedev of Russia serves against Botic van de Zandschulp of Netherlands during his Men’s Singles quarterfinals match on Day Nine of the 2021 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 07, 2021 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. Elsa/Getty Images/AFP (Photo by ELSA / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

 

Nadal’s uncle and former coach, Toni Nadal, guides Auger-Aliassime.

“The communication has been great, the work is good and the results are coming,” Auger-Aliassime said.

Van de Zandschulp hoped to become the first qualifier to reach the US Open semi-finals and only the sixth to do so at any Grand Slam event.

But the Russian dominated the first two sets before the Dutchman fought back to take the third, Medvedev’s first lost set of the Open.

“First two sets he was missing. I was controling the game,” Medvedev said. “Third set he started missing less.”

Medvedev took the only break of the final set on match point when the Dutchman netted a forehand drop volley to end matters after two hours and 23 minutes.

“In the fourth, he served amazing,” Van de Zandschulp said. “He’s the guy who deserved to win.”

– Fernandez shocks again –
Left-hander Fernandez, who turned 19 on Monday, snapped the Tokyo Olympic bronze medalist’s nine-match win streak with clutch shotmaking, firing 42 winners, as spectators roared their delight.

“Throughout the whole match, I was so nervous,” Fernandez told the crowd. “Thanks to you, I was able to push through.”

Fernandez broke for a 4-2 lead and captured the first set in 38 minutes, the first Svitolina surrendered at the Open.

In the second set, Svitolina broke twice to lead 5-1 but Fernandez broke in the seventh game and forced three break points in the last game before a Svitolina ace mandated a third set.

Fernandez and Svitolina exchanged four breaks on the way to the tie-breaker, in which the teenager never trailed, advancing after two hours and 24 minutes with a service winner.

Fernandez booked a semi-final matchup against second seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus, who defeated Czech eighth seed and reigning French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova 6-1, 6-4.

“She’s playing well,” Sabalenka said of Fernandez. “She’s moving well and the crowd cheers for her. I’d say nothing to lose for this one.”

Sabalenka matched her deepest Slam run from July at Wimbledon with a WTA-best 43rd match win of 2021.

Osaka Advances By Walkover At US Open, Medvedev Wins

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – AUGUST 30: Naomi Osaka of Japan returns a shot against Marie Bouzkova of Czech Republic during their women’s singles first round match on Day One of the 2021 US Open at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 30, 2021 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. Sarah Stier/Getty Images/AFP (Photo by Sarah Stier / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

 

 

Defending champion Naomi Osaka advanced by walkover at the US Open on Wednesday while Russian second seed Daniil Medvedev and fifth-seeded compatriot Andrey Rublev breezed into the third round.

Japanese third seed Osaka, seeking her fifth Grand Slam title and third US Open crown in four years, reached the third round when Serbian qualifier Olga Danilovic withdrew due to illness.

“I have been feeling unwell these past few days dealing with a non-covid related viral ilness,” 20-year-old left-hander Danilovic posted on social media.

Osaka, who next faces Canada’s 73rd-ranked Leylah Fernandez, could become the first back-to-back US Open winner since Serena Williams, absent with a torn hamstring, captured her third in a row in 2014.

Osaka’s Grand Slam win streak remains at 16 matches, the walkover not counting toward the run just as her withdrawing from the French Open after the first round did not halt it.

Medvedev, this year’s Australian Open runner-up, defeated Germany’s Dominik Koepfer 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 while Rublev fell behind 5-2 before roaring back to eliminate Spaniard Pedro Martinez 7-6 (7/2), 6-7 (5/7), 6-1, 6-1.

Medvedev, a winner last month in Toronto, won his only prior match against Koepfer on his way to the 2019 US Open final, which he lost to Rafael Nadal.

“Great level from me,” Medvedev said. “There were a few tight moments in the match and I managed to play them well. I’m happy to be through in less than two hours.”

 

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 01: Daniil Medvedev of Russia celebrates after defeating Dominik Koepfer of Germany during his Men’s Singles second round match on Day Three of the 2021 US Open at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 01, 2021 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. Matthew Stockman/Getty Images/AFP (Photo by MATTHEW STOCKMAN / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

 

Two-time Grand Slam winners Victoria Azarenka and Garbine Muguruza booked a third-round showdown.

Spanish ninth seed Muguruza, the 2016 French Open and 2017 Wimbledon champion, defeated Andrea Petkovic 6-4, 6-2, taking her first win in four tries against the German.

“It was dificult because we are great friends,” Muguruza said. “I took my time and played well. That made a difference.”

She will next face two-time Australian Open champion and three-time US Open runner-up Azarenka, the 18th seed from Belarus who defeated Italy’s Jasmine Paolini 6-3, 7-6 (7/1).

“The next round is going to be exciting for both of us,” Azarenka said.

Azarenka and Muguruza have split four career meetings. Muguruza won the most recent in 2020 at Rome and again by walkover in this year’s Doha semi-finals.

“It’s going to be a very difficult match. She always plays great here,” Muguruza said. “She’s always a dangerous player, because if you played great you can always play great again. She’s one of the best players out there.”

Romanian 12th seed Simona Halep, the 2018 French Open and 2019 Wimbledon champion, replaced Osaka on Ashe and dispatched Slovakian Kristina Kucova 6-3, 6-1.

Despite a bandaged right thigh and a year of nagging injuries, Halep advanced on a service winner after 68 minutes for her deepest US Open run since 2016.

“I feel better. I’m more confident,” Halep said. “Before the tournament, I was a little worried with injuries.”

Ukraine’s fifth-seeded Elina Svitolina, a 2019 US Open semi-finalist, ousted Spain’s Rebeka Masarova 6-2, 7-5.

British 24th seed Daniel Evans beat American Marcos Giron 6-4, 7-6 (7/3), 2-6, 6-3 to book a third-round match against Australian Alex Popyrin, who advanced 7-6 (7/4), 7-6 (7/4), 4-0 when Bulgarian 15th seed Grigor Dimitrov retired.

– Plan for toilet breaks –
Stefanos Tsitsipas, the Greek third seed whose extended bathroom breaks have become the subject of ridicule at the Open, has the last Ashe night match against Frenchman Adrian Mannarino, who is 0-17 in Grand Slams against top-10 opponents.

Tsitsipas was derided by three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray and Olympic champion Alexander Zverev for taking long toilet breaks and other pauses to disrupt opponents.

Murray says he “lost respect” for the French Open runner-up and Zverev joked the Greek star travels to the moon to use the bathroom.

Tsitsipas, who would match his best US Open run by reaching the third round, says he’s only using rules available to all ATP Tour players.

“I’m playing by the rules and sticking to what the ATP says is fair,” Tsitsipas said.

Americans Coco Gauff and Sloane Stephens, the 2017 US Open winner, meet in the Ashe night feature match.

Medvedev Positive For COVID-19, Withdraws From Monte Carlo

In this file photograph taken on February 21, 2021, Russia’s Daniil Medvedev reacts as he plays against Serbia’s Novak Djokovic during their men’s singles final match on day fourteen of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne. PHOTO: BRANDON MALONE / AFP

 

Daniil Medvedev has withdrawn from the Monte Carlo Masters after testing positive for Covid-19, the ATP Tour announced on Tuesday, raising questions about the latitude afforded to Monaco residents like the Russian who are allowed to stay at home rather than in a bio-secure hotel.  

“It’s a big disappointment not to play in Monte-Carlo. My focus is now on recovery and I look forward to getting back out on Tour as soon and as safely as possible,” world number two said in an ATP statement.

Medvedev tested positive on Monday having practised with Rafael Nadal the day before.

Organisers, contacted by AFP, declined to comment on whether the third seed risked being identified as a ‘close contact’ of Medvedev and forced to quarantine, scuppering the Spaniard’s quest for a 12th Monte Carlo title.

READ ALSO: Ramos Tests Positive For COVID-19 Ahead Of Liverpool Clash

Medvedev went into isolation following the test result “and continues to be monitored by the Tournament Physician and ATP Medical Team”, the statement added.

The finalist in Monte Carlo in 2019 had a first-round bye and has been replaced in the singles second round where he was due to play either Fili or Nikoloz Basilashvili on Wednesday.

As a Monaco resident, like Novak Djokovic, the 25-year-old was allowed to reside at his home, in contrast to other players who are living in strict bio-secure bubble accommodation in an official hotel and only allowed to leave to go the Monte Carlo Country Club.

“I’m very lucky to be able to stay at my home this week, it’s nice in this period of ‘bubbles’,” he said at the weekend.

World number one Djokovic echoed Medvedev’s words on the comforts of home living but emphasised that he still followed the tournament’s hygiene protocol by not going out.

He said he had delayed entering what he termed the event’s “safe environment” until Sunday, so as “to remain free” and go wherever he wanted.

Players staying at their own homes are subject to daily coronavirus tests while those in the hotel are tested every couple of days.

Medvedev, runner-up to Djokovic in the Australian Open this year, took over the number two ATP ranking with victory at Marseille in March.

He was due on court in Monte Carlo following his upset quarter-final loss to Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut in the Miami Open at the start of the month.

Nadal opens against Federico Delbonis on Wednesday.

AFP

Top Seeds Medvedev, Osaka Crash Out Of Miami Open

A photo combination of top seeds Daniil Medvedev and Naomi Osaka. Photo: AFP
A photo combination of top seeds Daniil Medvedev and Naomi Osaka. Photo: AFP

 

Top-seeded Daniil Medvedev crashed out of the Miami Open Wednesday on a day of upsets that also saw Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka ousted from the quarter-finals.

Seventh-seeded Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut beat Medvedev 6-4, 6-2, for his third win in as many meetings with the Russian who was runner-up to Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open and ascended to No. 2 in the world with his victory at Marseille in March.

Women’s world No. 2 Osaka — seeded second behind top-ranked Ashleigh Barty in the prestigious ATP Masters and WTA hardcourt tournament — had bowed out hours earlier, the Japanese star’s 23-match winning streak coming to a crashing halt with a 6-0, 6-4 loss to Greece’s Maria Sakkari.

Bautista booked a semi-final showdown with 19-year-old Italian Jannick Sinner, the world No. 31 who beat Kazakhstan’s Alexander Bublik 7-6 (7/5), 6-4.

Sakkari will face eighth-seeded Canadian Bianca Andreescu for a place in the women’s final.

Andreescu, ranked ninth in the world, clawed out a 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 victory over tenacious 58th-ranked Spaniard Sara Sorribes Tormo.

Osaka, playing her first tournament since lifting her fourth Grand Slam title at the Australian Open, won just eight points in the first set as she failed to muster a single winner.

Osaka broke in the second game of the second set and seized a 3-0 lead before Sakkari roared back for a victory that ended Osaka’s chance of overtaking Australia’s Barty — who had already booked her semi-final spot — atop the world rankings this week.

Osaka acknowledged that the rankings race may have affected her against Greece’s 25th-ranked Sakkari.

“The last time I was in this (press conference) seat, I wasn’t really thinking at all about rankings, but someone asked me that question, so then I did start to ponder about it a lot.

“So maybe unwillingly that put pressure on myself. But I feel like even if it did, I should be able to rise above that,” Osaka said.

Osaka hadn’t dropped a set at love since her last defeat, which came in February 2020 in a Fed Cup match.

“She has the most wins so far this year so she’s in great form — it meant a lot to me,” said Sakkari, who let loose a scream of delight after the final point.

“To be deadly honest, I got a little tight in the first two games of the second set,” said Sakkari, who had saved six match points in her fourth-round win over American Jessica Pegula.

“I stayed within myself and started fighting back, hitting a few more balls and winning a few points against her.”

Andreescu outlasts Sorribes

Andreescu, the 2019 US Open champion trying to work her way back this year after a 15-month injury absence, broke Sorribes in the final game of the opening set, launching a run of eight straight service breaks.

Andreescu was irked by a time violation early in the second set, in which Sorribes held serve for the only time in the set for a 5-3 lead — enough of an edge to level the match.

Up a break at 3-2 in the third, Andreescu saved three break points to hold, broke Sorribes again only to drop her own serve but finally sealed it with a stinging backhand down the line on her second match point.

“She’s an incredible fighter,” Andreescu said. “I have no idea how I pushed through, but I fought as hard as I could and I’m super happy.”

Bautista went into his clash with Medvedev with the confidence of two prior victories over the Russian, and once again he had the winning formula.

“I want to give Daniil all the credit, I know he is one of the best players in the world,” Bautista said. “He’s been winning a lot of matches, he’s No. 2 in the world, so I’m very happy and proud about how I played today. I think I showed a great level on the court.”

The Spaniard gained the first break of a tense opening set for a 5-4 lead, then saved a break point to pocket the set on his second opportunity.

He broke Medvedev to open the second set, and the Russian never found a way back in, unable to convert two break points before dropping his serve again to trail 4-1.

Bautista served out the match in no-nonsense style, with a love game after one hour and 32 minutes.

Against Sinner, he’ll be looking to avenge a three-set defeat in the third round at Dubai.

Sinner handled everything Bublik could throw at him on Wednesday — from a 105mph forehand return to an underhand serve.

In the end the Italian’s 28 forehand winners were plenty to book a semi-final berth in just his third Masters 1000 appearance.

 

AFP

Miami Open: Medvedev, Osaka Advance As Zverev Tumbles Out

Daniil Medvedev of Russia returns a shot during his men’s singles second round match against Yen-Hsun Lu of Taiwan on Day 5 of the 2021 Miami Open presented by Itaú at Hard Rock Stadium on March 26, 2021 in Miami Gardens, Florida. Mark Brown/Getty Images/AFP

 

Daniil Medvedev celebrated his rise to second in the world with a seamless entry into the Miami Open on Friday, trouncing Taiwan’s Lu Yen-Hsun in less than an hour.

Russia’s Medvedev needed just 56 minutes to subdue Lu 6-2, 6-2, firing nine aces with just one double fault as he advanced to a third-round meeting with Australian Alexei Popyrin, a 6-4, 6-2, winner over 30th-seeded American Reilly Opelka.

Women’s world number two Naomi Osaka, seeded second behind top-ranked Australian Ashleigh Barty, had a tougher time, but conquered her nerves in her first match since winning the Australian Open to beat Aussie Ajla Tomljanovic 7-6 (7/3), 6-4.

Men’s third seed Alexander Zverev, ranked seventh in the world, became the biggest upset victim so far in the prestigious ATP Masters and WTA hardcourt tournament, falling 1-6, 6-3, 6-1 to 83rd-ranked Finn Emil Ruusuvuori.

READ ALSO: Gunmen Kidnap Eight RCCG Members In Kaduna

Medvedev, the top seed in an ATP Masters event for the first time, was all over Lu from the opening game.

He belted 24 winners to become the second player — along with compatriot Andrey Rublev — to reach 15 match wins this year.

Runner-up to top-ranked Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open, Medvedev ascended to No. 2 in the world when he lifted the ATP trophy in Marseille.

Medvedev became the first player outside the “Big Four” of Djokovic, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray to rank second in the world since Lleyton Hewitt in 2005.

But he’s already looking for more.

“The only thing I feel like when you reach something you haven’t done then straight away it doesn’t matter and you want to go further and further,” he said. “I think it’s the same for everybody.

“I’m happy about my achievement but only trying to improve every day and want to go further.”

Zverev also arrived in Miami riding a wave of success, having captured the ATP title in Acapulco last week.

But Ruusuvuori, 21, rallied to claim one of the biggest wins of his career, turning the tables on Zverev with more aggressive tactics in the second set and posting the second win of his career over a top-10 player.

“I don’t even know myself,” he said of how he managed the reversal. “I wasn’t feeling very comfortable in the first set and I was making a lot of unforced errors. But slowly in the second I was starting to feel a bit better.”

Naomi Osaka of Japan returns a shot during her singles second round match against Ajla Tomljanović of Australia on Day 5 of the 2021 Miami Open presented by Itaú at Hard Rock Stadium on March 26, 2021, in Miami Gardens, Florida. Mark Brown/Getty Images/AFP

 

– Osaka fights through –

Osaka acknowledged she was feeling some nerves in her first match since she lifted her fourth Grand Slam title in Melbourne.

“I would say what I’m most proud of today, just being able to handle my nerves,” she said.

That was a bigger problem than the gusty wind on Grandstand Court at Hard Rock Stadium, where 77th-ranked Tomljanovic twice went up a break in the opening set but despite an impressive display of power was eventually undone by 24 unforced errors.

Thirteen aces among her 36 winners helped Osaka overcome a slew of unforced errors of her own and set up a third-round meeting with Serbian qualifier Nina Stojanovic, who surprised Yulia Putintseva, the 26th seed from Kazakhstan, 5-7, 7-5, 6-2.

“I served really well when I needed to,” Osaka said. “Unfortunately I got broken a couple of times, but I think when it really, really mattered, I was able to serve well, so I’m happy with that.

Fourth-seeded American Sofia Kenin, the 2020 Australian Open champion, rallied for a 6-7 (6/8), 6-1, 6-3 victory over German Andrea Petkovic.

Sixth-seeded Karolina Pliskova, eighth-seeded Bianca Andreescu and No. 12 Garbine Muguruza also advanced.

Pliskova beat China’s Zheng Saisai 6-2, 6-1, Andreescu defeated Czech Tereza Martincova 7-6 (7/5), 6-2 and Spain’s Muguruza, coming off a title in Dubai two weeks ago, beat wild card Wang Xinyu of China 6-4, 6-1.

In other men’s action, Australian James Duckworth surprised eighth-seeded Belgian David Goffin 6-3, 6-1 and Britain’s Cameron Norrie beat ninth-seeded Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov 7-5, 7-5.

AFP

Djokovic Beats Medvedev To Win Ninth Australian Open

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic celebrates beating Russia’s Aslan Karatsev in their men’s singles semi-final match on day eleven of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on February 18, 2021. (Photo by Brandon MALONE / AFP)

 

Peerless world number one Novak Djokovic demolished Russia’s Daniil Medvedev in straight sets to win his ninth Australian Open title and extend his record-breaking reign at Melbourne Park Sunday.

Djokovic overpowered the fourth seed 7-5, 6-2, 6-2 in front of 7,400 fans on Rod Laver Arena to end the Russian’s unbeaten run at 20 matches.

In winning a third straight Australian Open for the second time, the Serb claimed his 18th Grand Slam title to move within two of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal who have 20 each, while denying Medvedev his first.

Rarely has a player been so dominant at a single tournament with the Serb’s record-extending ninth title moving him past Federer’s eight at Wimbledon but still a long way behind the 13 Nadal has won at Roland Garros.

READ ALSO: Osaka Aims To Inspire New Generation But Says Williams Is Still The Queen

But it was a rollercoaster ride to get there, with Djokovic dropping five sets en route to the final and battling an abdominal injury that nearly forced him to pull out after the third round.

Despite admitting it was a gamble to keep playing, with a risk the injury could get worse and affect the rest of his season, the 33-year-old chose to continue and it paid off.

Medvedev, 25, is one of the smartest players on tour, keeping his opponents guessing with his flat and low groundstrokes, changing up the pace and angles, as he blends impenetrable defence with opportunistic offence.

But the Serb, who held a 4-3 head-to-head record against him but had lost three of the previous four, had his measure.

– Wild backhand –

In front of a pro-Djokovic crowd, Medvedev overcooked two forehands on his opening service game then sent one into the net to hand the Serb the first break points, then a wild backhand saw him immediately on the back foot.

Djokovic consolidated with a serve to love before the Russian finally got off the mark with a wobbly hold for 1-3. But then a failed drop shot and net volley from the top seed allowed the Russian to break back.

Long rallies ensued and it went with serve until some brilliant groundstrokes from Djokovic earned three break points at 6-5. Medvedev saved two but not the third to lose the opening set.

Undeterred, the tall, pencil-thin Russian kept coming and dialed up the pressure to break Djokovic’s opening serve in set two, only for the Serb to immediately strike back.

Djokovic won three games in a row, despite the disruption of two fans being ejected in an apparent refugee protest, as he took control.

He raced to a 5-2 lead with Medvedev smashing his racquet in frustration as the set and the championship began slipping away.

Deflated, Medvedev dropped his opening serve in set three and never looked like finding a way back as Djokovic, in his 28th Grand Slam final compared to the Russian’s second, drew on his experience to close out the match, dropping to the court in celebration.

The win reinforced Djokovic’s status as world number one, where he will mark his 311th week when the new rankings come out on Monday, surpassing Federer’s record of 310.

Medvedev will move to a career-high three in the rankings, behind Nadal.

Wawrinka Breaks Down Medvedev Wall In Five-Set Thriller

Switzerland’s Stanislas Wawrinka reacts after a point against Russia’s Daniil Medvedev during their men’s singles match on day eight of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 27, 2020.
DAVID GRAY / AFP

 

Former Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka turned back the clock in a vintage performance to stun world number four, Daniil Medvedev, Monday and race into the Australian Open quarter-finals.

The popular Swiss star, who beat Rafael Nadal in the 2014 decider, dug deep to come from behind in five intense sets and win 6-2, 2-6, 4-6, 7-6 (7/2), 6-2.

It set up a last-eight clash with either Russian 17th seed Andrey Rublev or German seventh seed Alexander Zverev.

“Another amazing match,” said Wawrinka, who is into his 18th Grand Slam quarter-final, behind only Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, and Andy Murray among active players.

“The level was super-high and the atmosphere is so special here in Australia.

“It’s amazing to still be playing and at that level. I’m really happy with what I’m doing on the court.”

Three-time Grand Slam champion Wawrinka has not won a title since pocketing the 16th of his career on the Geneva clay in 2017, with two bouts of surgery on his left knee pushing him to the brink of retirement.

A lengthy absence from the tour meant his world ranking plunged, but he has climbed back to world number 15 after runs last year to the last eight at Roland Garros and the US Open.

Beating Medvedev brought up another milestone in Wawrinka’s illustrious career — it was his 300th Tour-level win.

Switzerland’s Stanislas Wawrinka gives a hug to Russia’s Daniil Medvedev (L) after their men’s singles match on day eight of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 27, 2020.
DAVID GRAY / AFP

 

It was classic Wawrinka in the first set, with the 34-year-old playing some of his best tennis in a long time.

He broke to go 3-1 in front and then again to take the set in 32 minutes of precision and power, with the Russian struggling to match him around the court.

But Medvedev came roaring back to break and take a 3-1 lead in the second set as Wawrinka lost his range, breaking again to take the set in emphatic fashion.

The 23-year-old built on his advantage early in the third set, with his serve making life hard for Wawrinka who struggled to create chances and had trouble applying the finishing touch at the net.

In contrast, Medvedev was hitting winners and broke for 4-3 before sealing the set.

They traded blows in a tight fourth set, desperately arm-wrestling for the edge with a tiebreaker needed and Wawrinka showing his experience to prevail and send it to a deciding set, where the writing was on the wall.

Medvedev had played five career five-setters and lost them all, while veteran Wawrinka had 50 under his belt and a 28-22 record.

He turned the screws, breaking the Russian’s opening service game then staving off three break points to go 3-1 in front, with no way back for the fourth seed.

AFP

ATP: Medvedev Sets Up Last 16 Clash With Wawrinka

Russia’s Daniil Medvedev hits a return against Australia’s Alexei Popyrin during their men’s singles match on day six of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 25, 2020.
William WEST / AFP

 

World number four Daniil Medvedev eased past Alexei Popyrin in straight sets Saturday to set up a last-16 clash with former Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka.

The tall Russian had few problems dispatching the unseeded Australian 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 on Rod Laver Arena as he steps up his quest for a maiden Grand Slam crown.

“I knew it was not going to be easy and happy to win in straight sets,” said Medvedev, insisting he had no expectations in Melbourne.

“(But) of course every time no matter what tournament I’m super disappointed (if I lose).

“Hopefully I can win seven matches here, but very tough.”

He now plays experienced 2014 champion Wawrinka after the Swiss got an easy ride through his clash against John Isner, with the American retiring injured while losing 6-4, 6-1.

Wawrinka, a former world number three who has never returned to his best since knee surgery in 2017, said he was happy to be in the second week of a Slam once again.

“I think I was playing well again today,” he said. “I was really happy the way I was moving, the way I was playing.

“That’s very positive. It’s great to be back in the second week, that’s for sure. Feeling way better.”

Popyrin conceded an early break and was never allowed into the match by a man seeded behind only the Big Three of Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer.

After Medvedev rattled through the first set, Popyrin went off for treatment for a leg problem midway through the second.

When he returned the Russian was ruthless, wrapping up the set then completing a routine victory, using his strength and big serve to good effect.

AFP

Medvedev Revives Russia’s Tennis Hopes

Russia’s tennis player Daniil Medvedev arrives for a meeting with the Russian media at the GUM department store in downtown Moscow on October 14, 2019. Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP

 

Daniil Medvedev, Russia’s number one tennis player, on Monday signed caps and tennis balls for fans in his native city of Moscow, hours after landing from China, where he won the Shanghai Masters Sunday.

After a period in the doldrums, Russian tennis is now infused with a new generation of young male players and Medvedev, 23, is leading the pack, now at a career-best of fourth in the world.

Tired after a long flight and admitting he was surviving on coffee, Medvedev posed for selfies with fans.

“I do feel there’s a lot of support coming from Russia. it’s huge and it’s great,” he told AFP. “A lot of support coming from social media (and) support from my friends, because most of my friends are still Russian guys.”

Fans hailed his influence.

“The main thing is that tennis is becoming more popular in Russia thanks to him,” said one fan, 19-year-old student Daniil Trefilov.

Trefilov hopes to watch Medvedev play in the city’s Kremlin Cup this week — Medvedev said he will decide on Tuesday if he will participate.

Another fan, David Umarkhadzhiyev who leads an online group of Russian supporters, said he “fell in love with the game” from watching Medvedev play.

“After (Marat) Safin and (Yevgeny) Kafelnikov there was a kind of stagnation,” Umarkhadzhiyev said, referring to top players of past decades.

“There were no men and suddenly one or two years ago, Medvedev, (Karen) Khachanov and (Andrei) Rublev appeared.”

The trio are Russia’s top-ranking men’s players and Medvedev says they share a healthy rivalry.

“We have a great competition between us three guys and we really push each other.”

Speaking fluent English and French as well as Russian, he looks tanned and relaxed but his eyes sometimes half-close from fatigue.

Beyond rivalry with fellow Russian players, Medvedev is now challenging the dominance of tennis’s big three much older players: Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and  Novak Djokovic.

“These guys are just from another planet, we have to admit it, they are really strong and we are trying our best to beat them,” he said.

He did not attach much significance to claims by commentators such as Boris Becker that the younger generation of players may not be strong enough mentally to seize the crown from the old guard.

“I just can continue to work hard, to improve every day and to try my best to be at the top of the tennis world,” he said.

“If it works out, I will be extremely happy, if it doesn’t, I know I did my best.”