After Andrey Rublev fell to 0-4 in opposition to Daniil Medvedev at tour-level earlier this yr on the Australian Open, he remained optimistic.
“We will play I hope for a lot of, a few years, so a minimum of as soon as I feel I’ll have an opportunity,” Rublev stated, cracking fun. “Each time I play him — on the US Open I had possibilities, I had set factors. Right here I had break factors. After which someday it will be my day.”
Will Saturday be his day when he meets the World No. 2 within the Western & Southern Open semi-finals? Rublev will attempt to upset his shut pal and countryman, with whom he led Russia to ATP Cup glory this yr, for a spot in his second ATP Masters 1000 ultimate. However it is going to be a troublesome activity, and it was no shock that when Rublev was requested in regards to the matchup, his response was priceless: “My good pal Daniil once more.”
Medvedev is taking part in his finest tennis of the season, and is recent off a 6-1, 6-1 masterpiece in opposition to seventh seed Pablo Carreno Busta within the quarter-finals. The highest seed has gained 18 of his previous 20 matches, together with a run to the Toronto trophy final week, which marked his fourth Masters 1000 title. He’s trying to grow to be simply the seventh male participant within the Open Period to say the Toronto-Cincinnati double.
“The upper your confidence is, the extra there’s a likelihood that you just gained’t have these weak spots, and that’s the place you might be robust to beat,” Medvedev stated. “That’s how I’m feeling proper now. However what is hard in tennis is it’s essential to proceed doing it day after day.
Each males have loved nice success in Cincinnati. Two years in the past, Rublev defeated Stan Wawrinka and Roger Federer in back-to-back matches to make the quarter-finals. At that stage, he misplaced in opposition to Medvedev, who broke via on the Lindner Household Tennis Centre to raise his first Masters 1000 trophy.
Medvedev can have the psychological edge, realizing he has gained all 10 tour-level units he has performed in opposition to Rublev. The Monaco resident has confirmed he has the answer to nullify his countryman’s highly effective recreation.
2021 MATCH WINS LEADERS
Rublev sometimes crushes ball after ball till he blasts a winner or his opponent is not capable of defend his assaults. However not solely has Medvedev repelled his pal’s offence, he has proven the power to reap the benefits of the few moments when Rublev has taken his foot off the gasoline, moving into the courtroom himself to take cost.
“You might want to be targeted 100% each level, as a result of as quickly as you loosen up or one thing, then he’ll use this chance. That is why it is necessary all the time, even when I am not attacking, as a result of perhaps he [will] take benefit and he [will] begin to assault,” Rublev stated earlier this yr. “For him it is also not straightforward. I am not the one one who’s struggling. He’s additionally struggling, as a result of in the long run for him it is robust to be all the time the one who must assault after which all of the sudden once more to defend.”
Medvedev views their clashes equally, realizing that the distinction in factors is commonly small alternatives inside every rally.
“Once I play him, I do know I can’t lose focus. I should be there all of the factors as a result of one small alternative that he provides me the place he doesn’t hit full energy, I attempt to use it, I attempt to take it,” Medvedev stated. “After all I attempt to hit photographs that he will be unable to assault, to [play] aggressively, as a result of that’s his recreation. That’s regular in opposition to any participant, you attempt to get him out of the consolation zone. Typically you succeed, generally not. However that’s what I’m going to attempt to do tomorrow.”
2021 MASTERS 1000 WINS LEADERS
Within the second semi-final, second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas will try to keep up his ATP Head2Head dominance of Tokyo Olympics gold medallist Alexander Zverev, whom he leads 6-2.
Each males have been in nice kind. Tsitsipas is second within the FedEx ATP Race To Turin, and a title in Cincinnati would transfer him to inside 1,195 factors of first-place Novak Djokovic. The Greek additionally made the semi-finals final week in Toronto, the place he misplaced a troublesome three-setter in opposition to American Reilly Opelka.
Zverev started the week with out a win on his Western & Southern Open resume. However he has gained 9 consecutive matches, and is one in all two gamers to achieve the final 4 with out dropping a set (additionally Medvedev).
Not solely has the German been profitable, however he has been doing so convincingly. Zverev has solely misplaced one set throughout his profitable streak, and simply two of the 18 units he has gained throughout this stretch have gone previous 6-4.
“The matches are usually not going to get simpler. I feel Stef is any individual who’s in unimaginable kind proper now and he’s trying ahead to taking part in this match as effectively as a result of we’re proper in entrance of the US Open,” Zverev stated in his on-court interview after defeating Norwegian Casper Ruud on Friday. “We must be taking part in our greatest tennis, and I feel it’s going to be entertaining for all of us.”
Tsitsipas is rarely one to draw back from a check. The final time these two performed was within the semi-finals at Roland Garros. The Greek misplaced the third and fourth units earlier than steadying himself to achieve his first Grand Slam ultimate.
Like Zverev, he had by no means gained a match in Cincinnati earlier than this week. However the 23-year-old is as assured as anybody, main the ATP Tour with 48 wins this season. He now has his sights set on a fourth Masters 1000 ultimate.
“I feel it is very important settle for the problem, to embrace it and to wish to pursue additional success,” Tsitsipas stated in his on-court interview after battling previous Felix Auger-Aliassime within the quarter-finals. “The game that I selected to play, I’m on the market taking part in it for the troublesome moments and for the straightforward ones and I wish to convey the very best out of my recreation when issues aren’t straightforward.”
Did You Know?
The highest 4 seeds are within the Western & Southern Open semi-finals for the primary time since 2009, when Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic made it that far.