Daniil Medvedev defeats Carlos Alcaraz at US Open 23

Daniil Medvedev reaffirmed to the world on Friday night that, at his peak, he is capable of defeating any opponent on the earth

(Tennis news) The 27-year-old requested a rematch with Novak Djokovic in the Flushing Meadows championship match in 2021. Two years prior, Djokovic was shocked by Medvedev, shattering his dream of winning all four majors in a single season. He will make an effort on Sunday to prevent Djokovic from winning a record-extending 24th Slam title.

“The challenge is to play a guy who won 23 Grand Slams and I have only one,” Medvedev said in his on-court interview. “When I beat him here, I managed to play better than myself and I need to do it again. There is no other way.”

In order to defeat Alcaraz, Medvedev stated after his quarterfinal victory over Andrey Rublev that he would need to perform at a “11 out of 10” level. He did just that, saving eight of the nine break points he encountered to win after three hours and 18 minutes and advance to his third championship match in New York.

“I said I needed to play 11 out of 10. I played 12 out of 10, except the third set,” Medvedev said. “That’s the only way. I don’t know if he’s still 20 or 21, but [he is] so young, already two Grand Slams, World No. 1 for many weeks. It’s honestly just pretty unbelievable and I think nobody has done it before him. To beat him, you need to be better than yourself and I managed to do it.”

Having lost his previous two Head 2 Head matches against Alcaraz this season, Medvedev enters the semi-finals. During those encounters, the Spaniard won all five sets they played and did not drop more than three games in any of those matches.

In Arthur Ashe Stadium, Medvedev put on a virtually faultless performance, preventing his opponent from mounting his first two-set comeback of his career. However, that did not seem to phase Medvedev. Alcaraz is 5-0 in Flushing Meadows and 9-1 in five-set matches, but the 20-year-old was unable to force a fifth set against Medvedev, who is 4-9 in such matches.

Having lost in the quarterfinals in Toronto and the third round in Cincinnati, the 27-year-old’s summer on North American hard courts had been below par. However, the third seed found his best tennis at the season’s final major and is now a Tour-leading 38-5 on hard courts this year with four titles on the surface (Rotterdam, Doha, Dubai, and Miami).

The anticipation for a potential Djokovic-Alcaraz championship showdown did not cause Medvedev to lose concentration. Medvedev played with exceptional vigour, especially off the forehand wing, both in his footwork and ball-striking. That prevented the top seed from dictating with the same ease as usual, which resulted in mistakes at crucial times. 

There was not much separating Medvedev and Alcaraz in the opening set, despite Tom Brady, Kevin Durant, and Charlize Theron being the most prominent personalities in the audience. Alcaraz, though, made a weak drop volley in the tie-break, which gave Medvedev the opportunity to chase down a forehand and win the crucial mini-break.

Alcaraz failed to reset in time for a strong start to the second set. The Spaniard frequently moved forward to take advantage of his opponent’s deep court location early, but he blasted a forehand drop ball into the net to give up a break right away and was never able to get it back. Medvedev’s game was perfect as he earned another break with an amazing one-handed backhand shot on the full stretch. A “moment of magic” was described by world feed commentator Robbie Koenig.

Alcaraz, though, resisted being defeated easily. At 2-1 in the match, the defending Wimbledon champion managed to break serve for the first time and keep her lead. Medvedev kept playing deep in the court as the defending champion continued to advance.

In the third set, the 20-year-old claimed 13 of 15 net points, compared to Medvedev’s four out of 13. While his opponent frequently found themselves on the receiving end of thunderous passing shots, Alcaraz advanced with confidence and was in control of the game’s points.

“The third set was not so bad, I lost one serve. I didn’t have a lot of opportunities on his serve, but I felt like I was not that far. So I was like, ‘I have to continue pushing. I have to do a little bit better on my serve.’ I saved some breakpoints at 1-all. There was a very crucial, super-long game where I managed to do some amazing points to stay in the game and then he kind of — maybe we don’t see him do this often — he started to miss a little bit. Yeah, amazing.”

Alcaraz repeatedly served and volleyed while displaying outstanding forecourt skill as Medvedev continued to return shots from far behind the baseline. But Medvedev eventually persuaded his rival to make a net error, allowing him to break for 4-2.

Medvedev needed to fight his way to the finish line after an overpowering love hold that had him within one game of victory. In the match’s decisive game, Alcaraz once again worked his magic to win three break points, but the 2021 champion stood her ground.

Also read: Carlos Alcaraz set to play Daniil Medvedved at US Open 23


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