Photo : @DaniilMedwed
Daniil Medvedev continued his scorching hot streak this past week at the Miami Open as he claimed the championship 7-5, 6-3 over Jannik Sinner on Sunday. Medvedev improved his career head-to-head against the Italian to a perfect 6-0 with the win.
Medvedev played with the steady confidence of someone who has just reached his fifth straight final on the ATP Tour and now stands at 28-4 for his win/loss ratio in 2023. He has rebounded from an off 2022 that saw him briefly drop out of the top ten for the first time in over three years back in January.
In the late stages of the first set of the final, the 10th-seeded Sinner faced pressure while serving at 5-6, 15-40. Sinner smacked a forehand into the net to hand the opening frame over to Medvedev. So far in 2023, Medvedev has never lost a match in which he was up by a set.
The second set started with three breaks of serve in the opening four games, but then Medvedev was the one to settle down and he would later routinely close out the match with an unreturnable serve on his first match point.
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While we likely won’t be seeing this same level of success from Medvedev as we transition to the clay courts and then later the grass, there’s no doubting his superior talent when it comes to hard court play.
He’s now won five of the six hard court Masters 1000 events, made the finals of the other (Indian Wells) and has also made the finals of both majors on the surface, capturing the US Open in 2021 and making the finals of the Aussie Open in 2021 and 2022. Medvedev also holds the unique distinction of having won all of his 19 ATP tournaments at different events, without a single duplicate trophy among his impressive collection!
Speaking with Steve Weissman of The Tennis Channel about the incredible play from Medvedev in recent weeks, the well-respected television host had the following to say:
“For Medvedev on these courts to come through on courts that he loves, I mean what he did in Indian Wells was impressive because he hated those courts, and then he comes to a fast hard court where he dominates and there you go, how about a fourth title in five weeks. The guy is absolutely on fire!”
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Despite not playing in either Indian Wells or Miami, Novak Djokovic now returns to No. 1 in the world rankings as Carlos Alcaraz was unable to defend his title from a year ago. How compelling a battle for that ranking are we going to see throughout the rest of the reason as these two stars (hopefully) entertain us with some great matches against one another!
With Djokovic unable to enter the United States due to his covid vaccination status and with Rafael Nadal aiming to return from injury during the clay court swing, the Sunshine Double events allowed tennis fans a glimpse into what the post-Big 3 world is going to look like.
And you know what? It looks like we’re going to be just fine judging from the high level tennis we’ve witnessed over the past few weeks from some of the other talented players on the ATP Tour.
Other Miami Moments:
Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner gave us the point of the tournament and probably the entire men’s tennis season so far in their semifinal encounter. It was 25 shots of some of the best angles, power and precision you could imagine including an incredible get from Sinner after racing to a drop shot and then being forced to scramble to the back of the court as well to somehow stay alive in the point. Despite their young ages, this was already the sixth time they’ve faced one another on tour and is a growing rivalry that seems ready to blossom.
Huge shoutout to American Chris Eubanks who impressed the tennis world by playing well above his ranking. The 6’7’’ American undoubtedly acquired many new followers with his inspired play that saw him reach the quarter-finals of a Masters 1000 event for the first time in his career. The 26 year old generated some serious buzz with his inspiring run, something that we touched base with Steve Weissman this week on Match Point Canada.
“He finally cracked into the top 100… coming from qualies all the way to the quarter-finals. And maybe you knew who Chris Eubanks was and maybe you didn’t, but now you do. And you see a guy like Jamie Foxx, a global superstar, coming to watch this kid play and they’re good buddies and that takes tennis to a new level.”
It wasn’t meant to be for the Canadian singles contestants in the Miami Draw, as both Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov went out early. Felix was defeated in the third round 6-2, 7-5 by 25th seed Francisco Cerundolo in a match that saw just 55% of his first serves hit the mark.
Shapovalov also fell in the third round by a score of 6-4, 6-4 at the hands of No. 9 seed Taylor Fritz. Shapovalov did not enjoy a single break point opportunity in the match vs the American.
Hopefully, the transition to clay helps both players find another gear. Auger Aliassime has already reached two ATP finals on the surface in his career while Shapovalov has made the semifinals of two clay court Masters 1000 events in Madrid in 2018 and Rome in 2020.
The title in the men’s doubles draw was taken by the duo of Santiago Gonzalez and Edouard Roger-Vasselin who defeated Austin Krajicek and Nicolas Mahut 7-6(4), 7-5. The pair had earlier in the tournament defeated the No. 1 seeds of Skupski and Koolhof. It was another week of the veteran’s showing us how it’s done in doubles, as Gonzalez is 40 while Roger-Vasselin joins that same club this coming November. Last week, Rohan Bopanna claimed the doubles title in Indian Wells at the tender age of 43 alongside Matthew Ebden.