Daniil Medvedev said that Carlos Alcaraz, the top-seeded player and the current champion, would need to play “11 out of 10” to defeat him at the US Open.
How did Medvedev feel about his semifinals performance against Alcaraz on Friday night?
“I played 12 out of 10,” Medvedev said after defeating Alcaraz 7-6 (3), 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 to set up a meeting with Novak Djokovic in the championship match, who had earlier defeated unseeded American Ben Shelton 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 (4).
The No. 3-seeded Medvedev defeated 23-time Slam champion Djokovic in the 2021 major final at Flushing Meadows to claim his lone major victory. Due to that, Djokovic was unable to complete what would have been the first men’s tennis Grand Slam in a calendar year since 1969.
People had been looking forward to a Djokovic vs. Alcaraz title matchup even before these two weeks had officially begun. Djokovic is 36; Alcaraz is 20; their generational conflict has captured the attention of the tennis world recently.
The match on Sunday in New York would have been a rematch of the semifinal at the French Open in June that Djokovic won, the Wimbledon final in July that Alcaraz won, and the Cincinnati Masters final last month that Djokovic won.
It was not to be, though.
Medvedev stood in the way.
“These kind of matches can happen,” Alcaraz said.
No matter what happens on Sunday, Alcaraz will lose his No. 1 ranking to Djokovic. He was trying to become the first man to win consecutive championships in New York since Roger Federer did so from 2004 to 2008.
Days ago, Alcaraz talked about his development over the previous year and how much more mature he’s become.
“After this match, I’m going to change my mind,” Alcaraz said. “I’m not mature enough.”
Medvedev, a 27-year-old Russian, will therefore play in his third US Open final in five years and sixth overall major title match.
He fell short of Djokovic at the Australian Open in 2021 as well as Rafael Nadal at New York in 2019 and at the Australian Open in 2022.
Ahead of facing Djokovic, Medvedev remarked, “The challenge is that you play a guy that won 23 Grand Slams, and I have only one.” “When I beat him here, I managed to play better than myself, so I need to do it again. There is no other way.”
Two times this year, including in the Wimbledon semifinals, Medvedev has fallen to Alcaraz. These head-to-head results concerned Medvedev.
“Before the match, for sure, a lot of doubts,” he said.
The only active players with more victories over ATP No. 1s are Nadal (23), Djokovic (16), and Andy Murray (12), but Medvedev proved up to the challenge, defeating a world No. 1 for the sixth time and continuing his unmatched record on hard courts. Nobody has won more matches (235), had more final appearances (28) or won greater prizes (18) on hard courts since the year’s beginning than Medvedev.
He would conjure up passing shots “from his house,” Alcaraz remarked with a smirk, noting that Medvedev hit his forehand harder than usual. He stood far back to return serves and would conjure up passing shots.
One key point: Medvedev won the next four points and the first tiebreaker set after the score was tied at three all.
Alcaraz confessed, “I totally [lost] my mind.”
Alcaraz went to the sidelines during the second set’s 3-0 Medvedev lead and considered hitting his racket against a few empty plastic bottles next to his seat, but decided against it.
“It was tough,” Alcaraz said, “for me to stay calm.”
Both men had brilliant moments, showing off their agility, instincts, and shot-making abilities in ways that captivated the crowd and got them up from their seats.
Juan Carlos Ferrero, the 2003 French Open champion and Alcaraz’s coach, would frequently leap up from his place in a corner guest box at Arthur Ashe Stadium. Ferrero kept up a continual stream of Spanish instructions and exhortations during the second set as he appeared to be losing control of the match.
All of it was beneficial, however temporarily. In the third set, Alcaraz really got going, and his aggressive net-charging strategies, which included a lot of serve-and-volleying, were successful. Of the 70 points he finished at the basket, he won 54.
About as good as ever, Medvedev performed. He defeated 101 of the 174 points in the match that lasted four strokes or less, saving eight of the nine break points he faced in the process.
With Alcaraz served down 3-2 in the fourth set, the final twist occurred. The lanky Medvedev, whose long arms seem to get his racket to everything, had a tonne of spectacular returns during the roughly 15-minute-long match.
Alcaraz looked up and placed his hands together as if to say, “Thank you!” when one Medvedev return fell out.
Alcaraz, however, missed one volley and then struggled to connect on a dipping, angled backhand return as he tried to get to it.
In the future, Medvedev would remark, “That game was amazing.”
Even though he had to set aside a pair of double faults while serving for the win as some spectators shouted to divert him, it gave Medvedev the lead and a lead he would not lose.
“That’s not so nice. But I’m happy it didn’t help them,” Medvedev said. “They can go to sleep now.”
Alcaraz was asked about how long he was going to reflect on this setback.
- ‘The Masked Singer’ Releases the Rubber Ducky’s Identity: See the Star Hidden in the Mask - September 28, 2023
- How to plan a vacation with ChatGPT - September 28, 2023
- Ronald Acua Jr. is the first player in MLB history to record a 40/70 season - September 28, 2023