Daniil Medvedev’s quest for a fifth ATP Masters 1000 title kicked into high gear at the Western & Southern Open on Friday when he beat Taylor Fritz 7-6(1), 6-3 to reach the semifinals in Cincinnati.
The top seed backed up his impressive wins over Botic van de Zandschulp and Denis Shapovalov with a full display against the American to qualify after an hour and 38 minutes.
The 26-year-old fired 32 winners as he landed shots with his racquet, as he clung on at key moments in their first ATP Head2Head encounter, saving three set points in the first set to advance to 9 -3 in the quarter of the Masters 1000. -finals.
Medvedev suffered a disappointing second-round loss to Nick Kyrgios in Montreal last week. However, he found his groove in Cincinnati and is now 14-4 on the hard court.
“Cincinnati’s fast pitches and fastballs and I’ve always liked that. But still tricky games, especially between two great servers,” Medvedev said during his on-court interview. “I feel like Taylor and I served well, even though we’re not John [Isner] perhaps! I knew it was going to be a tight game.
“The first set, he was a little above me. He had a lot more chances than me on my serve, but I managed to stay. There were set points where I could have miss and nobody would have talked about it, it would have been normal, but I managed to stay in the set and that helped me win the match.
Medvedev won his first Masters 1000 trophy at the event in 2019, before advancing to the semi-finals last season. He will look to continue his strong record in Ohio when he takes on Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas or American John Isner in the last four.
The 2020 Nitto ATP Finals champion, who is guaranteed to retain his No. 1 status in the Pepperstone ATP rankings until at least the US Open, is aiming to win his second title of the year and his 14th crown at the General classification. The four-time Masters 1000 champion lifted the trophy in Los Cabos last month as he reached the finals of the Australian Open, ‘s-Hertogenbosch and Halle.
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In front of a spirited American crowd, the two swooped in as Fritz looked to penetrate Medvedev’s defense with his flat groundstrokes. The 11th seed returned with great depth throughout and earned three set points in the set on Medvedev’s serve. However, the top seed held steady from the baseline to save one at 4-5 and two more at 5-6, before running away in the tie-break to take the lead.
Medvedev was locked in early in the second set and won a mammoth rally to earn an early break. The 26-year-old acted like a brick wall from the baseline as he covered the ground to hold onto the point. He threw a huge lob, which to his surprise fell, before Fritz finally hit a forehand wide, Medvedev throwing his arms up in celebration. The top seed then stayed solid on serve to triumph.
Medvedev now holds a 20-6 record in tiebreakers at Masters 1000 events. A record he is proud of.
“It’s great because tie-breaks are a good thing. We call it a lottery and I think it’s a bit like that. I remember when I had the mad rush in 2019. I think someone someone once told me that I won a lot of tie-breaks in a row,” Medvedev said. “I don’t know if it was eight or 12, so I was like, ‘That’s cool.’ “I’m just trying to do my best and earn every point. You win some and you lose some. But 20-6 is a good record, so I’m happy with that.”
The 11th seed, Fritz, was aiming to reach his second Masters 1000 semi-final of the season, after winning the title in Indian Wells in March. The 24-year-old is currently 10th in the Pepperstone ATP Race To Turin as he seeks to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals for the first time.