World number five Daniil Medvedev continued his quest first for a first Grand Slam at the US Open title with a convincing win over fellow Russian and childhood friend Andrey Rublev in their last eight encounter.
Medvedev was widely seen by many as the man most likely to challenge Novak Djokovic for the title this fortnight and following the Serbian’s shock departure from the tournament on Sunday, the third seed is seen by many as the favorite for the title.
Last year’s runner-up has been in scintillating form all tournament, being the only man to reach the last eight without dropping a set, and had not dropped a set to Rublev in their three previous meetings. The world number five’s movement and overall consistency make him a nightmare match-up for Rublev.
Rublev, the tenth seed at Flushing Meadows, had picked up a big win over sixth seed Matteo Berrettini to reach just his second Grand Slam quarterfinal, three years after he lost to Rafael Nadal at this stage in New York. The tenth seed looked sharp early on and could have easily taken the opening set, though Medvedev saved three set points to claim the opener and after that it never looked in doubt that he would prevail. The third seed claimed a 7-6(6), 6-3 7-6(5) victory to reach a second Grand Slam semifinal.
Medvedev prevails in all-Russian affair
The opening exchanges were very competitive, with Rublev seemingly more able to compete with Medvedev than he had done in previous meetings. The third seed held after a brief delay due to a power outage to force a tiebreak, though was quickly behind with the tenth seed racing to a 5-1 lead.
Rublev held three set points up 6-3 though was evidently tight, and his frustration was evident after a fourth straight error from his racket handed Medvedev a set point. An ace from the Russian number one saw him snatch the first set in just over an hour.
After a tight first set Medvedev started to hit the ball a little more freely, with Rublev looking a little unfocused after dropping the first set the way he did. The third seed’s superb defensive skills were on full display as he secured the first break of the contest in the sixth game of the set, consolidating for a 5-2 lead and comfortably closing out the set in his next service game.
Rublev regained composure in the third set and built up some potential openings when returning, though Medvedev quickly snuffed out any opportunities with neither man facing a break point as a second tiebreak was brought up. After the two twice exchanged minibreaks the third seed created a first match point at 6-5 up, and he converted his opportunity to prevail in two hours and 27 minutes.
Thiem awaits in last four
The first set was by far the toughest set that Medvedev has faced this fortnight though his mental toughness was highlighted by his comeback in the opener, and after he prevailed it never looked likely that he would not win this contest. The only concern may be physical, having had to call the physio twice towards the end of the contest, firstly due to a should issue and then due to a quad issue.
Medvedev will now face second seed Dominic Thiem, who breezed past Alex De Minaur in the final quarterfinal of the day.
The Austrian is seen as perhaps the strongest contender to take the title alongside the Russian, and the prospect of a semifinal between Medvedev and the second seed is one to savor.