Third seed and world number five Daniil Medvedev eased through to the second week at the US Open for the second year in a row, with the Russian comfortably seeing off the challenge of American wildcard J.J. Wolf to progress to the fourth round with a comprehensive 6-3, 6-3, 6-2 win.
Medvedev had breezed past Federico Delbonis and Christopher O’Connell in his opening two matches without even losing his serve, showing signs of the form that took him all the way to the final at this tournament 12 months ago.
He entered this encounter as the heavy favorite, with world number 138 Wolf having never played a Grand Slam tournament prior to this. With an Agassi-esque look and booming forehand Wolf had won many fans, albeit virtually, with wins over 29th seed Guido Pella and Roberto Carballes Baena, and would have been relishing the opportunity to face someone of the fifth seed’s calibre.
There were ominous signs early on for the American, having to save a break point in the opening game, and it was clear that Medvedev was in control of the encounter from the very beginning. Last year’s finalist dropped just five points on serve in the opener, breaking an erratic Wolf in the fifth game and then for the second time on his first set point to take the first set in 34 minutes.
Medvedev faced some early pressure in set two but saved a break point in his opening service game, and proceeded to break twice on his way to a commanding 5-1 lead. The Russian lost his serve for the first time this week, with Wolf impressively saving a break point to claw back one break, though closed it out at the second time of asking for a commanding two set lead.
The two traded breaks early in the third set, though Medvedev was able to regain his break advantage in the third game and this time consolidated for a 3-1 lead. The world number five never liked losing control of this contest, and broke for a second time in the set before serving out successfully for a straightforward victory.
It was ultimately a disappointing afternoon for Wolf, though the 21-year old can take huge encouragement from the past few weeks. Picking up two wins on your Grand Slam debut, as well as two wins in qualifying for the Western & Southern Open, is no mean feat and the American is heading towards a top 100 debut.
For Medvedev, today was simply business as usual. The Russian was the favorite to reach the final from this side of the draw prior to the tournament and that will still very much be the case after his opening three rounds, and he will also likely still be seen as the man most likely to challenge title favorite Novak Djokovic. The only man yet to drop a set this tournament, the fifth seed will face Frances Tiafoe or Marton Fucsovics next.