Djokovic Remains Number One Despite Australian Open Absence

In this file photo, Novak Djokovic of Serbia takes part in a practice session ahead of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 13, 2022. Mike FREY / AFP

 

Rafael Nadal’s record-breaking 21st Grand Slam singles title in winning an epic Australian Open final frustrated Novak Djokovic’s hopes of being the first to do so, but the Serb remains world number one in the rankings released Monday.

The 34-year-old was unable to play in the first Grand Slam of the year after being deported from Australia over Covid-19 vaccination issues but he extended his record-breaking run as number one to 358 weeks.

Nadal’s beaten opponent in the Melbourne final, Daniil Medvedev, stays second but the Russian moves to within 1,000 points of Djokovic.

Djokovic will keep the points he earned from winning his ninth Australian Open title last year till February 21 as last year’s tournament was played at the later dates of February 8-21.

READ ALSO: Nadal ‘Doesn’t Care’ If He’s Best Ever After Record 21st Slam

Nadal remains fifth in the rankings despite his record-breaking title and the only movement in the top 10 sees Italy’s Matteo Berrettini — who lost to the Spaniard in the semi-finals in Australia — rise one place to sixth.

Spain’s Pablo Carreno and Taylor Fritz of the United States enter the top 20 in 17th and 20th respectively.

Rankings

1. Novak Djokovic (SRB) 11015 pts

2. Daniil Medvedev (RUS) 10125

3. Alexander Zverev (GER) 7780

4. Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) 7170

5. Rafael Nadal (ESP) 6875

6. Matteo Berrettini (ITA) 5278 (+1)

7. Andrey Rublev (RUS) 4830 (-1)

8. Casper Ruud (NOR) 4065

9. Félix Auger-Aliassime (CAN) 3923

10. Jannik Sinner (ITA) 3705

11. Hubert Hurkacz (POL) 3336

12. Denis Shapovalov (CAN) 2930 (+2)

13. Cameron Norrie (GBR) 2865 (-1)

14. Diego Schwartzman (ARG) 2640 (-1)

15. Aslan Karatsev (RUS) 2633

16. Gaël Monfils (FRA) 2553 (+4)

17. Pablo Carreño (ESP) 2475 (+4)

18. Christian Garín (CHI) 2420 (+1)

19. Roberto Bautista (ESP) 2385 (-1)

20. Taylor Fritz (USA) 2310 (+2)

Australian Open Final: Nadal Goes For Historic 21st Slam

Spain’s Rafael Nadal celebrates after victory against Italy’s Matteo Berrettini during their men’s singles semi-final match on day twelve of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 28, 2022. PHOTO: William WEST / AFP

 

Rafael Nadal is chasing a record 21st Grand Slam crown in Sunday’s Australian Open final but Daniil Medvedev is once again ready to act as the spoiler.

The Russian world number two upset Novak Djokovic in last year’s US Open final to prevent the Serbian’s calendar Grand Slam bid and scuppered his attempt to move ahead of Nadal and Roger Federer on the all-time list of men’s major winners.

Apart from the 21st major title, Nadal is on Sunday also bidding to become only the fourth man to win each of the four Grand Slams twice.

At 35 will be the third-oldest man in the Open Era to win a Grand Slam title, behind Ken Rosewall and Federer.

“For me, at the end, it’s about more than all these statistics, it’s about being in the final of the Australian Open one more time. That means a lot to me,” Nadal said.

READ ALSO: Red Cards Mar 2021 AFCON Round Of 16 Games

“To me, it’s more important to be in the final and fight to win another Australian Open than the rest of the statistics for the history of the sport.

“I am facing my most difficult rival of the whole tournament in the final.”

The  quirky Russian is relishing the chance to block Nadal getting to 21 majors ahead of his “Big Three” rivals, as he did with Djokovic four months ago.

“It’s a great rivalry. I’m happy to have the chance to try to stop one more time somebody from making history,” Medvedev said after reaching his second straight Australian Open final.

He lost to Djokovic last year.

“I’m just trying to focus on doing my job. Of course, I’m not lying, I know what’s happening, I know what Rafa is going for, I knew what Novak was going for.”

 

– Turbulent tournament –

While much of the sentimental interest is in Nadal’s remarkable comeback from last year’s injury-ravaged season to reach his sixth Australian final and 29 overall in Grand Slams, Medvedev is still standing after a turbulent tournament.

He had to negotiate the explosive Australian Nick Kyrgios and a partisan home crowd, come through two long sapping battles in the heat with Maxime Cressy and Felix Auger-Aliassime before overcoming frosty rival Stefanos Tsitsipas in the semi-final.

Each time the 25-year-old Russian has found a solution in his 17 and a half hours on court. He now has one more problem to solve in Nadal.

“I think it’s gonna be a great battle, probably a physical match. Rafa likes to drag people into long rallies. I like it too,” he said.

“Rafa, we know that from the first till the last point he’s gonna fight his best, and that’s what I’m gonna try to do also.”

Nadal leads Medvedev 3-1, with the Russian losing to the Spanish leftie in his first major final at the 2019 US Open over five sets.

“Now I have the chance to play him a second time. The first one was a close one, an epic one,” Medvedev said.

“I’m gonna try to prepare well, and need to show my best because that’s what I took out of the three finals that I had before, that you have to do better than 100 percent in order to win.”

It has been an extraordinary effort from Nadal just to get to the final of another Slam.

He is having to modify his game to compensate for degenerative bone disease in his left foot that ended his 2021 season last August.

“One month and a half ago I didn’t know if I will be able to be back to the tour. So here I am, and thanks to life for it.”

AFP

Medvedev To Face Nadal In Australian Open Final

A file photo of Spain’s Rafael Nadal and Russia’s Daniil Medvedev.

 

Daniil Medvedev won a tempestuous Australian Open semi-final against Stefanos Tsitsipas on Friday and will now face Rafael Nadal, bidding to become the all-time men’s Grand Slam leader, in Sunday’s final.

World number two Medvedev beat fourth-ranked Tsitsipas 7-6 (7/5), 4-6, 6-4, 6-1.

Earlier, the 35-year-old Spanish great powered past the Italian seventh seed Matteo Berrettini 6-3, 6-2, 3-6.

Medvedev, Tsitsipas March Into Last 16 As Halep Fires Warning

Russia's Daniil Medvedev reacts after a point against Netherlands' Botic Van de Zandschulp during their men's singles match on day six of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 22, 2022. Paul Crock / AFP
Russia’s Daniil Medvedev reacts after a point against Netherlands’ Botic Van de Zandschulp during their men’s singles match on day six of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 22, 2022. Paul Crock / AFP

 

World number two and title favourite Daniil Medvedev won over the Australian Open crowd on Saturday as he eased into the last 16 along with Stefanos Tsitsipas.

After the drama of Friday, when defending champion Naomi Osaka exited Melbourne in the third round, the women’s seeds were also mostly untroubled on day six.

Second seed Aryna Sabalenka overcame the serving yips and Simona Halep was an emphatic winner, the former number one now playing self-described “dinosaur” Alize Cornet on Monday for a place in the quarter-finals.

READ ALSO: Chelsea Must Improve Attitude, Admits Tuchel

Russia’s Medvedev, the de facto men’s top seed after the deportation of defending champion Novak Djokovic on the eve of the Grand Slam, said some fans at Melbourne Park had a “low IQ” after they booed him in his second-round victory over Australian showman Nick Kyrgios.

The reigning US Open champion needed four sets and a large dose of composure to see off Kyrgios and silence Rod Laver Arena, but it was altogether more comfortable as he dismissed unseeded Dutchman Botic van de Zandschulp.

The 25-year-old Medvedev kept his cool in sweltering conditions on Margaret Court Arena to roll through 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 in 1hr 55min and faces American Maxime Cressy in the fourth round.

“I’ll put it this way, it’s easier to play a guy from the Netherlands than a guy from Australia in Australia in Melbourne,” said Medvedev, who has a similar love-hate dynamic with the crowd in New York.

“Every good relationship must have its ups and downs so I think it’s good, it’s entertaining and it’s real, there is some relationship going on.”

Greek fourth seed Tsitsipas, who is chasing a maiden major, was also largely untroubled in a 6-3, 7-5, 6-7 (2/7), 6-4 win over unseeded Frenchman Benoit Paire and plays American Taylor Fritz next.

Tsitsipas’s serve was the foundation. He did not drop a service game despite losing a set and sent down 21 aces.

Medvedev and Tsitsipas, two of the generation coming up fast behind the “Big Three” of Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, could meet in the semi-finals.

Felix Auger-Aliassime sent home the last Briton left standing in singles, the 21-year-old Canadian thrashing Dan Evans 6-4, 6-1, 6-1.

Auger-Aliassime is regarded as a serious upcoming talent in men’s tennis and warned his rivals that he was beginning to feel at home at the business end of majors.

“Now of course playing more and more Grand Slams and I have gone to semi-finals (US Open last year), I feel more in my place,” he said.

Another burgeoning talent, the 20-year-old Italian Jannik Sinner, defeated Japanese qualifier Taro Daniel in four sets and will play Australia’s Alex de Minaur.

‘What else can I ask for?’

In the women’s draw, Halep swatted aside Danka Kovinic — conqueror of US Open champion Emma Raducanu — 6-2, 6-1 in just 64 minutes to set up a date with Cornet of France.

The fit-again Halep came into the tournament full of confidence after her first title in 16 months earlier this month at a Melbourne warm-up event and was always in charge.

The 14th seed next meets unseeded Cornet, who celebrated her 32nd birthday by slugging it out with Slovenia’s 29th seed Tamara Zidansek for a 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 victory.

The crowd serenaded her by singing happy birthday.

“It’s definitely a very, very special victory being back in the second week 13 years after my first (time). It’s quite special,” she said.

“The day of my birthday, I mean, what else can I ask for?”

World number two Sabalenka overcame the serving problems that have been plaguing her early season, but still needed three sets to get past 31st seed Marketa Vondrousova.

The Belarusian had served 70 double faults in her previous four matches in 2022, and tallied 10 more even as she beat the Czech 4-6, 6-3, 6-1.

She now meets unseeded Estonian veteran Kaia Kanepi.

Also safely into round four and looking ominous is seventh seed Iga Swiatek, who swatted aside 25th seed Daria Kasatkina, 6-2, 6-3.

AFP

Djokovic Wins Record 37th Masters Crown

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic returns the ball to Russia’s Daniil Medvedev during their men’s single final tennis match on the last day of the ATP Paris Masters at The AccorHotels Arena in Paris on November 7, 2021. Christophe ARCHAMBAULT / AFP

 

World number one Novak Djokovic won a sixth Paris title and record 37th Masters crown on Sunday, beating 2020 champion Daniil Medvedev 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 in the final.

The 34-year-old Serbian gained a measure of revenge over his Russian opponent who dashed his dreams of a Grand Slam sweep when he beat him in the US Open final in September.

The Masters title secured Djokovic’s second record in as many days after he was confirmed as season-ending world number one for the seventh time.

Medvedev said Djokovic — who he calls his “friend” — was stronger on the crucial points.

“I don’t like losing so I cannot say I am happy, I don’t even like losing at Play Station!” said Medvedev at his press conference.

“But I gave everything and maybe I could have done a winner here or there or served one or two more aces.

“When you lose a match you always have the feeling that you can do a bit better. The trouble was Novak won the crucial points and apart from the first set I did not.

“However, I take consolation in having given everything against the best player in the world of all time. It was a good battle.”

In an entertaining contest, befitting a duel between the top two in the world, Djokovic again had to come back from a set down after needing three sets to beat Hubert Hurkacz in the semi-finals.

It was only the second time the top two in the ATP rankings had clashed in the Paris final.

Sunday’s crowd got better value than French fans on the previous occasion in 1990 when Boris Becker retired injured at 3-3 in the first set against then number one Stefan Edberg.

The pivotal game on Sunday came as Djokovic served to level the match, saving two break points before securing the second set on his third set point after 11 minutes.

 ‘Serbian spectator’

Djokovic pressed home the advantage, breaking Medvedev twice in the deciding set to move to 5-2 with the Russian showing his frustration by firing a ball into the crowd and having words with the umpire as he sat down.

“Just before I hit the serve, so you cannot really stop the motion, somebody screams something,” Medvedev said.

“So, yeah, I got mad because the crucial, crucial moment, 5-2 for him, double break, even if I manage to get the break back, we all know that against Novak it’s tough to actually come back from this score,” said Medvedev.

“I got mad because it was not nice, and it was done on purpose.

“It was done by Serbian spectator,” Medvedev said.

“I hope he doesn’t watch tennis anymore.”

That appeared to briefly fire Medvedev up as he got a break back in the next game but his serve once again let him down and it was Djokovic who raised his arms in celebration.

Medvedev will defend his ATP Finals title in Turin beginning in a week’s time but he said he would not be affected by this loss should he end up playing Djokovic again there.

“I have been beaten by Rublev, Dimitrov and now Novak in recent weeks but when I next face them I won’t be thinking they have a psychological advantage over me,” he said.

“I always go into any match regardless of the opponent with a desire and thinking also I can win.”

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