Have the match-winning floodgates opened for Daniil Medvedev in Rome?
After going 0-3 at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia prior to this year, the World No. 3 on Tuesday notched his third win of this year’s edition of the ATP Masters 1000 by defeating Alexander Zverev 6-2, 7-6(3).
The fourth-round clash was the 15th edition of one of the most intriguing ATP Head2Head clashes on Tour, and Medvedev made it nine wins to Zverev’s six in that matchup with a trademark display of relentless baseline retrieving to counter the big-serving challenge of the 2017 Rome champion.
“He started to play a little bit better for sure,” said Medvedev, when asked about the difficulties he faced in the second set. “We had some long games, and I should have played better on this game at 4-3… I should have done better from 40/0.
“I made a few easy errors, but that’s tennis and I knew that I had to continue. It was not an easy moment, [later I had a] set point to save. I’m happy with my level throughout the whole match, except this game and I’m really looking forward to the next match.”
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Zverev had already tasted victory on Tuesday at the Foro Italico, where he earlier wrapped up a rain-delayed third-round triumph against J.J. Wolf. He was unable to pull off a successful double-header Tuesday however, as Medvedev dominated the extended baseline exchanges throughout and converted three of nine break points to register his Tour-leading 36th win of the season.
Despite Zverev reclaiming a break to force a second-set tie-break, Medvedev produced a high-class tie-break to seal a one-hour, 56-minute victory, his third of the season against the German. The 27-year-old’s quarter-final opponent in Rome will be qualifier Yannick Hanfmann, who earlier upset Monte-Carlo champion Andrey Rublev 6-2, 7-6(3).
“I saw a little bit of [Hanfmann’s] match today and I saw his third set against [Marco] Cecchinato. He’s playing well right now,” said Medvedev. “I feel like he was already playing well, in Houston and Madrid [for example], just not going into the final or something like this.
“[Here is his] breakthrough, let’s say, already in the quarter-finals from qualies, playing a great level. So I have to be at my best to try to beat him.”