Second seed Daniil Medvedev further strengthened his title credentials Tuesday at the US Open, where he overcame qualifier Botic van de Zandschulp 6-3, 6-0, 4-6, 7-5 to reach his third consecutive semi-final in New York.
The Russian, who captured his 200th career win in the first-round victory against Richard Gasquet, had not dropped a set before today.
The World No. 2 played with confidence against van de Zandschulp, firing 36 winners and winning 83 per cent (54/65) of first-serve points as he raised his level in the fourth set to advance after two hours and 22 minutes.
“First two sets he was missing and I was controlling the game,” Medevedev said in his on-court interview. “But then he started missing less and hit with more power and played more aggressively. The break point he won he hit a forehand winner, so it became a lot tougher for me.
“I am happy with my game in the fourth set because on my first serve, I only lost two points and I always felt under pressure. Then at 6-5 he got a little bit tight, and I managed to do it without the tie-break, which is helpful.”
Chasing his first maiden title, Medvedev remains on course for a potential blockbuster final against World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, who is aiming to capture the Grand Slam at the US Open. The 25-year-old will first have to overcome a tricky test against either 12th seed Felix Auger-Aliassime or #NextGenATP Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz in the last four.
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The Russian has a strong record at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. In 2019, Medvedev reached his maiden major final in New York, rallying from two sets down to force a fifth set against Rafael Nadal in the championship match before falling short. He also advanced to the semi-finals without dropping a set last year before losing to eventual champion Dominic Thiem.
“In 2019 was my first Slam breakthrough, so already New York is in my heart, especially with the final against Rafael [Nadal],” Medvedev said. “Then last year, I still reached the semi-finals, losing to Dominic [Thiem] who played amazingly. I just want to do a little bit better than the last two times and get over this last little step, which is the toughest one.”
Medvedev captured his fourth ATP Masters 1000 title in Toronto and enjoyed a run to the last four in Cincinnati before arriving at Flushing Meadows last week. The Russian, who has also lifted trophies in Marseille and Mallorca this year, now holds a 16-2 record since Wimbledon.
In their first ATP Head2Head meeting, Medvedev dictated against van de Zandschulp as he moved inside the baseline to hammer his flat groundstrokes. The Russian hit with great depth in the first set to take time away from van de Zandschulp, breaking three times as he sealed the opener on his fourth set point.
The Dutchman had spent more than 19 hours on court, including in the qualifying rounds, 12 more than Medvedev had, and this began to show in the second set. The qualifier won just 38 per cent (6/16) of first-serve points in the set as he appeared to be tiring.
However, the qualifier raised his intensity in the third set to gain a foothold in the match, as Medvedev started to misfire on his forehand. In a tight fourth set, Medvedev was made to work hard as van de Zandschulp continued to cover the court and use the drop shot to good effect to disrupt the Russian’s rhythm. After squandering a match point at 5-4 in the set, Medvedev finally clinched his victory as he broke in the 12th game to advance.
“Botic played so many tough matches and today he was able to still come back and in the fourth set, anything could have happened,” Medvedev added. “It was an amazing level from him and if he continues to play like this he is going to be Top 50 minimum.”
Van de Zandschulp enjoyed a breakthrough run at the US Open, capturing the biggest wins of his career against eighth seed Casper Ruud and 11th seed Diego Schwartzman en route to his first major quarter-final. The World No. 117 was the first Dutchman to reach the last eight at a Slam since Sjeng Schalken at Wimbledon in 2004.