SF preview: Stefanos Tsitsipas ready to overcome Daniil Medvedev’s ‘hurdle’ | ATP Tour

There always seems to be so much at stake when Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas face off on a tennis court.

In fact, in their nine-match history, all but one of their encounters have been at the ATP Masters 1000, Nitto ATP Finals, or Grand Slam level. Saturday’s game at the Western & Southern Open, which will be their 10th meeting, is no exception, with a place in the 2022 final hanging in the balance.

World number one Medvedev holds a 7-2 advantage in the ATP Head2Heads.

“He’s one of the best,” said No. 4 seed Tsitsipas, who advanced to his third straight semifinal in Cincinnati via a close 7-6(5), 5-7 decision. 6-3 against 2013 runner-up John Isner. “I will have to play my game. Of course, an obstacle like Daniil is never easy, but I will try to stay focused, try to approach my game in the most precise, best way. I’ll let my tennis do the talking, and the rest will show up if it’s something I deserve.


Medvedev, who will be the top seed at the US Open later this month, continues to prove himself in big moments. In his 7-6(1), 6-3 dismissal of American Taylor Fritz in the quarter-finals, he improved to 20-6 in tiebreakers at the ATP Masters 1000 events.

“It’s great because a tie-break is a fun thing,” Medvedev said, heading into his first Masters 1000 semi-final of the year. “We call it a ‘lottery’. I think it’s a bit like that. I remember when I had my wild ride in 2019 [when he reeled of six straight finals]I won a lot of tie-breaks [11] in a row. Then I remember a time in my career when I lost five or six in a row. Now I have gained a lot again. I just try to do my best, to play every point. Of course, you lose some, you gain some. But 20-6 is a good record. I am happy.

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Medvedev, a titlist here in this unheard-of run in 2019, won his last encounter, a 7-6(5), 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 semi-final victory in January at the Open d ‘Australia.

“I’m happy with my level,” said the 26-year-old world number 1. “If I can keep playing this way, and especially during the game raise my level, I can beat anyone.”

Medvedev leads the four semifinalists in the INSIGHTS Steal metric, having won 34% of his points from defense this week. Tsitsipas paces the pack in conversion rate after seeing 76.1% of the attacking points at home. The Greek also tops the standings with a score of 26.1% in attack, which shows he played more than a quarter of his shots in attack to reach the semi-finals. Learn more about INSIGHTS.

KNOWLEDGE

Limited to just nine games in 2021, and just 16 so far in 2022, Borna Coric suddenly looks like the player who once reached No. 12 in the Pepperstone ATP rankings. Back in business after recovering from shoulder surgery, the 26-year-old Croatian is through to his first ATP Masters 1000 semi-final in four years, having brushed off the Top 10 like Rafael Nadal (7- 6(9), 4-6, 6-3) and Félix Auger-Aliassime (6-4, 6-4).

Credit the work he has done outside of games, especially on serve. Against Auger-Aliassime in the quarter-finals, Coric hit eight aces for a single double fault and won an incredible 97% (31 of 32) of his first-serve points.

“I served a lot last week,” said Coric, who after a 6-3, 6-2 loss to compatriot Marin Cilic in Montreal, put in some serious hours on the training ground. “I took the risk with my shoulder. I never know how many I can serve, but I just took the risk and trained very hard.

Next up for Coric, who jumped 86 places to No. 66 in the Pepperstone ATP live rankings, is 9th seed Cameron Norrie of Great Britain. This is the second career ATP Masters 1000 semi-final for the southpaw after winning in Indian Wells last October.

“He’s a great competitor,” said Norrie, who is No. 9 in the Pepperstone ATP live rankings and can move up to No. 8 with a title or second place. “He has a really good level. I watched it a lot this week. He beat Rafa, of course, the other day. He is playing some of his best. He’s won his matches very comfortably, so he’s going to feel pretty fresh and ready to go.

The opponents have shared their two previous encounters, with Norrie winning the Round of 16 in Shenzhen 2018, 6-4, 7-6(8), and Coric taking a 6-2, 6-2 second-round decision in Rome in 2019.

Starting the week at No. 152, Coric is the second lowest-ranked Cincinnati semifinalist since 1973 (No. 203 Byron Bertram, 1975).

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