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Daniil Medvedev - tipped to challenge Novak Djokovic

“Diego didn’t show his best tennis” Daniil Medvedev books place in Paris semi-finals

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Daniil Medvedev will face either Milos Raonic or Ugo Humbert in the Paris Master’s semi-final, after defeating Argentine sixth seed Diego Schwartzman 6-3 6-1 in the Russian’s first quarter-final appearance in the French capital.

This match was billed as a potentially feisty encounter after the pair argued during a tense battle at the ATP Cup in January this year, but Schwartzman failed to replicate that intensity in a flat match dominated by the third-seeded Russian. Schwartzman went into the match knowing that a win would book his place at the prestigious Nitto ATP Finals later this month at the O2 Arena in London, and that pressure showed in the early stages as Medvedev broke serve in just the third game of the contest.

While Medvedev began as he left off in the previous match – a three set win over world number 25 Alex De Minaur – Schwartzman looked tense and rushed on the ball in the opening set. As the world number nine repeatedly missed routine shots and racked up the error count, Medvedev rattled through service games, hitting an impressive 79% of first serves in play and maintaining the pressure on the Argentine’s service games. Medvedev comfortably held serve to 5-3, before again upping the intensity to break Schwartzman once more to close out the opening set 6-3.

Schwartzman’s recent form has been scintillating, with the 28-year-old’s run to the final of the Rome Masters – beating Rafael Nadal en route – in September and the semi-finals of the French Open a week later resulting in a first top ten appearance. Medvedev, on the other hand, has struggled over the last month, losing early in Roland Garros, Hamburg and St Petersburg. Yet the Russian continued to dominate this quarter-final match, justifying the 3-0 head-to-head record held by the third seed prior to this Paris meeting.

Medvedev immediately asked questions of the Schwartzman serve in the opening game of the second set, extending rallies on the slow Paris courts as the Argentine repeatedly failed to find the balance of attacking tennis required to break down his higher ranked opponent. The relentless pressure from Medvedev finally told in the third game, Schwartzman saving two break points before the Russian clinched the break with a spectacular running forehand.

This proved the decisive moment of the match as Schwartzman’s spirit visibly broke, Medvedev flying through another service game before again breaking the Argentine, this time to love with brutal efficiency. The full evidence of the aggressive style that took Medvedev to the semi-finals of the US Open in September was on display in the final stages, as the Russian sealed victory with an ace to wrap up a clinical 6-3 6-1 victory. In contrast to the brutal physicality of the match between the two top-ten players earlier in the year, this was a one-sided affair throughout, lasting just 63 minutes as Medvedev secured his first semi-final spot in Paris.

After the match, Medvedev admitted, “Diego didn’t show his best tennis… I managed to keep my level high throughout the match and he gave me some errors, so I felt good today”. If this highly impressive display is anything to go by, Medvedev will be a major threat not only here in Paris, but also at the year-end finals in London next week. Schwartzman, meanwhile, will be hoping that other results go his way as he must now wait to see if he can claim the final spot in London.


Daniil Medvedev - tipped to challenge Novak Djokovic
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