Danil Medvedev takes the positives from his defeat against Carlos Alcaraz in Indian Wells - UBITENNIS
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Danil Medvedev takes the positives from his defeat against Carlos Alcaraz in Indian Wells

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Danil Medvedev saw his 19-match winning streak broken when he was defeated by Carlos Alcaraz in last Sunday’s Indian Wells final, but the Russian player is very confident after a successful start to his 2023 season. Medvedev won three consecutive ATP Tour titles in Rotterdam, Doha and Dubai. The Russian achieved the best result of his career in Indian Wells where he had not gone beyond the quarter finals in his previous appearances in the Californian tournament. In the Californian desert he reached the final of an ATP Masters 1000 for the first time since he lost to Novak Djokovic in the final of the Paris Bercy Rolex Masters in 2021. 

 

“I am disappointed with the result, but the week was amazing. I am just happy and proud to reach the final in Indian Wells, because it’s a clay court on hard court. That’s a good result for me. Answering all these questions, I feel pretty well. I won three tournaments. I managed to make my best result in Indian Wells, where I could not make the quarter finals before, and already my second match was three-setter”,said Medvedev. 

Medvedev has moved up to number 5 in the ATP Ranking. The Russian player has reached the quarter finals in each of the past editions of the Miami Open and will try to do even better this year. 

“A lot of points. A lot of things to see in the season. I started it really well. I have already made more points than last year at that point. I see only good things, and I am looking forward to Miami”. 

Medvedev said that he has taken the positives from his defeat against Alcaraz last Sunday. 

“I think I will get over this defeat very quickly. It depends on how many finals you lost in a row, what were your previous results. Sometimes how you are feeling in life right now. A lot of positives. I will be forever disappointed that I did not win the final, but I can laugh already and whatever, I am going to try to win the next one or win Indian Wells next year”. 

In Indian Wells Medvedev missed his chance to win his fifth ATP Masters 1000 title and tie his career-long winning streak of 20 consecutive matches. Medvedev was aiming to become the first male player to win four titles in five weeks since Andy Murray in 2016. 

“I am one win away from my record. That’s actually disappointing. This would be cool to try to beat it and maybe try to prolong it as long as possible. It’s great to have these streaks. I am really disappointed that it ended, but I have a lot of confidence from this streak. Because last year, that’s what I was missing, these streaks. I was doing finals sometimes, semifinals in Cincinnati, kind of playing good but not playing well in the semifinals. I managed to win 19 matches in a row. I am proud of it, and now it’s time to try to build a new streak. There is no other way in tennis”, 

Medvedev had to overcome many hurdles en route to reach the Indian Wells final. He rolled his ankle in his fourth-round win over Alexander Zverev and hurt his thumb in his quarter final win against Alejandro Davidovich Fokina. 

“I had a pretty toxic relationship here with the courts, a love-hate relationship, so I would like to thank the court. I only played on this court. I gave it a hard time, so it gave me a hard time also. I rolled the ankle, the thumb, but it gave me the chance to finish the tournament. Thanks a lot to this court, I will definitely be back. I really love this tournament. I will be happy to come back many more years to come and hopefully I can start to love this court and Indian Wells together. I don’t like to lose, but today was unfortunately pretty easy. I hope you still enjoyed it”. 

Alcaraz won three Masters 1000 finals in Miami and Madrid in 2022 and Indian Wells 2023. 

“I would like to congratulate Carlos. You already have amazing achievements in your career and I am sure many more to come. Today is one more of them, winning in Indian Wells. I also of it, maybe next time you will give me the chance. Congrats to you and you team. You are the most respectful player on Tour. You probably say hi to 300 people a day. I have rarely seen it”

Medvedev admitted after the Indian Wells final that he would have played on a different court, 

“Alcaraz is playing good. I feel like he was serving well today. Serve and volley was good. It’s never easy to finish a match, especially a final. I was thinking about my match with Novak in the US Open, and try to do the same, put pressure on him. I made a very good return on his serve and volley, sliding forehand volley dropshot. It’s not easy to play him. I would definitely love to play against him on another surface, like maybe a little bit faster hard courts to see if I could do better. I don’t know if it’s his game that did not let me play my best level or just, for whatever reason, I did not play my best level. Mentally I was ready for the match. I don’t feel I took it too easy before the match. I was ready for a fight. I knew that I have a tough opponent on the other side. He played well. Good dropshots in good moments, some good moments to break me”, said Medvedev. 

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Iga Swiatek Appeared To Have An Easy Path To A Third French Title

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Iga Swiatek’s path to a third French Open title in four years looked so easy and accommodating.

 

There was a Brazilian left-hander few fans knew anything about and a Czech ranked 43rd in the world.

There wasn’t even power-hitting Aryna Sabalenka to worry about this time.

Surely, Swiatek could do a French waltz right past Beatriz Haddad Maia to the final and then take care of Karolina Muchova on Saturday.

TABLE WAS SET FOR IGA

The table was set for 22-year-old Iga Swiatek, the current No. 1 who couldn’t lose, or so it seemed.

But Haddad Maia turned out to be better than most observers expected in Thursday’s women’s semifinals. The Brazilian was 6-1 tall, and apparently capable of getting into Swiatek’s head.

The Polish Wonder couldn’t keep her eyes on the ball and still watch Haddad Maia’s move from a very wide stance to a narrow, moving, sometimes closer position even before Swiatek could make contact with her service toss.

HADDAD MAIA PROVIDES SERIOUS TEST

A double fault here and a double fault there, and Swiatek was in the middle of some serious opposition from Haddad Maia. Swiatek was even forced into a 16-point match tiebreaker before she could claim a 6-2, 7-6 (7) victory.

Most of the time, fans have grown to expect love games and few double faults from the usually near-flawless slender and speedy 5-9 Swiatek.

And now she could think about one more opponent. And Muchova already had taken care of Swiatek’s key rival for the world’s No. 1 ranking, the second-ranked Sabalenka, earlier in the day.

MUCHOVA MADE SABALENKA PAY A PRICE

Muchova made Sabalenka pay for her reckless play and over-hit forehands. Muchova, a slender  26-year-old, even won 20 of the last 24 points in a 7-6 (5), 6-7 (5), 7-5 upset of Sabalenka.

Of course, current Australian Open champion Sabalenka was hoping for a shot at a second straight Grand Slam title. From a break-point 5-2, match point opportunity in the third set, Sabalenka couldn’t find the court.

Once again, Swiatek will be going against an opponent who held a 1-0 edge in head-to-head matchups before the current French Open. Swiatek had lost one three-set match each against Haddad Maia and the 5-11 Muchova.

Don’t expect the gifted Swiatek to feel the pressure so much in the final against Muchova. The semifinal against Haddad Maia was just a little different. 

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com. 

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Is Iga Swiatek On Her Way To Becoming A Roland Garros Legend?

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Rafa Nadal couldn’t have done it better.

 

There was Iga Swiatek dominating another top 10 opponent on the court Rafa loves so much, while her favourite player is still sidelined by hip surgery and expects his legendary career to come to a close next year.

Indeed, Swiatek may be on her way to becoming a legend herself on Court Philippe Chatrier at the French Open. The Polish Wonder already owns two titles at Roland Garros and is in line to possibly win two more matches there over the next three days for a third French title.

Of course, that’s a long way from the number of titles Nadal has won in the Paris Grand Slam. Fourteen titles sound like an out-of-reach dream for anyone to capture at the same Grand Slam, even the 22-year-old Swiatek.

SWIATEK ON HER GAME

The top-ranked Swiatek was on her game in Wednesday’s quarterfinals, starting strong and then winning nine of the last 12 games against young Coco Gauff in a 6-4, 6-2 win over last year’s runner-up.

Gauff played her usual aggressive game, but at times appeared to go for too much too often. She appeared to overpower Swiatek at times with her big serve, but only on first serves. Otherwise, the 19-year-old American didn’t seem to have her weapons under control much of the match.

IGA ALWAYS APPEARS TO BE READY

No one in the women’s game anticipates better than Swiatek. She always appears to be ready for the next shot.

Opponents can never count Iga out. And allowing her to get ahead in a match is almost like turning over the controls to Swiatek, who already owns three Grand Slam titles and has now advanced to the semifinals in four of her last six Grand Slams.

Swiatek jumped out to a 3-1 lead against the sixth-ranked Gauff, then dropped a pair of games before taking full charge of the match.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com. 

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Casper Ruud Topples Rune To Reach French Open Semis

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Casper Ruud came out on top in his all-Scandinavian clash with Holger Rune to seal his place in the semi-finals of the French Open. 

 

Ruud, who is seeded fourth in the draw, battled to a 6-1, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3, win over his Danish opponent in what was a topsy-turvy encounter on the Philippe Chatrier Court. It is the second year in a row that the Norwegian has defeated Rune in the last eight of Roland Garros and he now leads their head-to-head 6-1. He is through to the last four of a major for only the third time in his career. 

“I’m very relieved. I came into this match trying to not play with pressure but it is not easy when you’re playing a big match against Holger who is never easy,” Rune said during his post-match interview. “He is very aggressive. Luckily for me the first two sets he wasn’t feeling it too well. He made a lot of errors and I got a lot of points for free.’
“That helped settle my nerves but he fought back in the third set. In the fourth set, I was lucky to keep that break.”

The highly anticipated nighttime clash began in one-way fashion with Ruud claiming 12 out of the first 15 games with relative ease as an erratic Rune struggled to find his game on the court, hitting a total of 40 unforced errors during the first two sets. 

It wasn’t until the third frame that Ruud finally faced some resistance on the court as his opponent orchestrated the crowd to get behind him. Prompting the 20-year-old to hit a series of impressive shots to revive his hopes.

However, Rune’s comeback was short-lived as Ruud broke once more midway through the fourth set as he moved to a game away from victory. He earned his first match point at 5-2 following a double fault from his rival but failed to convert. Two more opportunities then came and went for Ruud before he managed to serve the match out in the following game.

“I think I did well,” he replied when asked about how he handled his nerves. “I kind of looked at it (the match) as if he was the favourite. He won the last time we played and he has had a better year than me so far.’
“He was hoping to get into his first (Grand Slam) semi-final and I was hungry to get into another semi-final. Luckily it worked out well for me.”

Awaiting the 24-year-old in the semi-finals on Friday will be Alexander Zverev who defeated Tomás Martín Etcheverry in four sets. He trails their head-to-head 1-2 but they have never faced each other on clay. 

“Ruud has been there before. He was in the final here last year, so he knows exactly what it means and what it takes,” Zverev told reporters.  

Ruud is now 16-5 this season when it comes to playing matches on the clay. Since the start of 2020, he has registered 86 wins on the surface which is more than any other player on the ATP Tour.

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