Tennis is so cruel that fifteen minutes after serving for the match, Daniil Medvedev put away his rackets, beaten and eliminated from the Masters. Wednesday in Turin, after an unequal but intense match, the Russian gave in to Stefanos Tsitsipas (6-3, 6-7 7-6 ).
Immediately very aggressive, Tsitsipas took advantage of several errors from Medvedev to take the lead from the first moments. While he had managed a fine serve-volley sequence on the second ball, concluded by a winning volley of forehand, at 15-30 on his first commitment of the match, the Russian suddenly seized up in forehand. At 40-30, he made two big mistakes then, after a good defense from the Greek, he forced a smash from the baseline which escaped him by a few centimeters.
Tsitsipas imperial tenderloin
With this break ahead of entry (3-0), “Tsitsi” continued his business of aggression. He took advantage of Medvedev’s extreme position on the return, very remote, to multiply the serves and volleys. His quality of volley, especially low, did the rest. Very struggling on the return and in the short net game, the Russian scored only six points on his opponent’s service games during the first set, logically lost in just over thirty minutes.
More balanced, the second set saw the servers clearly take over the receivers. No break point, five white games, only one game concluded after a tie: neither one nor the other got the slightest opportunity until the tie-break.
Highly dependent on the quality of his serve and his first-serving percentage, Medvedev began to find some solutions to the rally from 5-5. A superb winning cross forehand, finally a successful forehand return, a few gestures to ask the public to encourage him: the 5th in the world was finally in his match.
Medvedev saves three match points…
On this momentum, he perfectly started the decisive game of the last chance. Two drop shots – one into Tsitsipas’ net, a winner from Medvedev – gave him a 4-1 lead. But at 4-3, two serves to follow, he committed two huge successive forehand mistakes. The level of play then suddenly and noticeably increased.
Still as intractable at the net, Tsitsipas got three match points at 6-5, 8-7 and 10-9. Medvedev saved them with great courage, even if it meant stepping out of his comfort zone, like the two ends held to equalize at 8-8, or that incredible winning smash from the baseline after a huge defense from the Greek at 10-9.
Unable to conclude, the winner of the 2019 edition finally cracked at 11-11 with a disgusting backhand drop in the hallway. As a symbol, it was at the net that Medvedev stuck to a set everywhere.
… but missed the mark in the third set
The third set looked like the previous one for a long time with a clear advantage for the servers: four shutouts out of the first six engagements and no chance for a break. Then, at 3-3, Tsitsipas’ forehand fumbled and Medvedev jumped at the chance to steal his serve for the first time in the match.
At 4-3, the Russian saved a break point from an ace. But at 5-4, when concluding his engagement, he completely collapsed. A redacted game (four unforced errors) which allowed Tsitsipas to come back level (5-5) then a tie-break disputed upside down, like his two backhand faults which launched the Greek (3-0 then 6-0 in a few moments) towards a third consecutive success against his rival.
Beaten by Djokovic on Monday, Tsitsipas will play a real quarter-final on Friday against Rublev. The winner will join the last four, where he will challenge world No. 4 Casper Ruud, the loser will be eliminated.