Daniil Medvedev entered his first BNP Paribas Open quarter-final with one health concern and exited Wednesday’s match with another, to go along with his 18th straight victory.
After rolling his right ankle in a match-of-the-season contender against Alexander Zverev on Tuesday, Medvedev was not able to walk that evening. But he surprised himself by moving well a day later in a 6-3, 7-5 win against Alejandro Davidovich Fokina. Then late in the second set, on a break point at 3-3, the fifth seed added to his worry list when another fall caused him to slice open his right thumb.
“I absolutely cut it open. It was like fully open,” said Medvedev, who twice required treatment to stop the bleeding. “I never cut myself with a knife even like this because I don’t cook much. Now it’s getting black. I don’t know if it’s a good sign.”
In his post-match press conference, he later added: “The moment I cut it, I saw, I don’t know if I should say it, kind of the meat. That was not nice to see. They cleaned it now. I have a small tape. Should be fine.”
The untimely tumble could have been a turning point in the match, as Medvedev lost six straight points beginning with his missed break chance. He tried to play on without taping his thumb, but quickly realised that was not an option.
“I never play with the tape. It’s tough to feel the racquet,” he explained. “So I was like, ‘I’m going to try to play without the tape.’ Next game, I start, I feel like on the forehand I couldn’t hold the racquet, so I said let’s tape it. That’s not easy and I don’t like it to take medical [timeouts] like this, but I had to [do it] and hopefully I can recover.”
While he played down any concerns in his presser, he acknowledged that he may have to deal with the taping again when he takes on Frances Tiafoe in Saturday’s semi-finals.
“The question is going to be whether I tape it in two days for the match or not,” he said. “But that’s not a big problem, because I managed to play well with the tape today. A lot of players tape their fingers and manage to play well, so I’m going to be able to do it also.”
With two rest days before he must take the court again, Medvedev projects the confidence of a man on an 18-match and three-trophy winning streak, despite his eventful path to the last four. But he was considerably less optimistic on Tuesday evening, when he could not even walk following his win against Zverev.
“I’m actually happy the ankle didn’t hurt much [in the quarters] because when I warmed up, it was hurting pretty bad,” he said. “I knew I was going to play, I knew I was going to try. But I couldn’t move well on the warm-up. I tried to warm it up as long as possible, took one painkiller so that probably helped. I was actually feeling better and better during the match.
“The thing is that yesterday evening, I was not able to walk. When the body cools down, the adrenaline comes out, it’s tough. I was walking in the pool just to try to walk anywhere because I couldn’t walk on the ground any more.”
With two feet firmly in the semi-finals, Medvedev will hope to stay upright through the weekend as he bids for his first Indian Wells title and fifth ATP Masters 100 crown.