Daniil Medvedev moved a step closer to celebrating his impending return to World No. 1 with a trophy thanks to a gritty display against Ilya Ivashka in the quarter-finals at the Libema Open on Friday.
The top seed was clinical in taking his chances in a tight opening set and was resilient in defence in the second to complete a 7-6(8), 6-4 victory at the ATP 250 event in in ‘s-Hertogenbosch. Although Medvedev struggled to find his free-flowing best against the World No. 41, he displayed top-class movement to frustrate his opponent and wrap up a one-hour, 51-minute victory.
“I didn’t do so good in the beginning of the first set, but finally we both managed to find our rhythm, there were great points,” said Medvedev in his on-court interview. “It was a matter of a few points where sometimes I served well or got a bit lucky at 8-8 [a net cord in the first-set tie-break], and that’s tennis sometimes. So today I was better in the deciding moments and sometimes luck was on my side, and that made a big difference.”
Regardless of how much further he progresses in The Netherlands, Medvedev is set to reclaim the No. 1 spot in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings on Monday when ranking points from 2021 Roland Garros drop. The 26-year-old feels the grass represents a big opportunity for him to solidify that position.
“I don’t have many points to defend on grass and I have some to win, so hopefully I can play well, starting here,” he said. “Every round is points and the higher you get, the more you need to step up.”
An intriguing first set saw both players struggle to find their rhythm and four consecutive breaks from the third game reflected an error-strewn contest as neither player was able to take charge. That pattern continued into the tie-break, but it was Medvedev who found the consistency to take the set as he fended off an Ivashka set point before converting his third to edge ahead.
Daniil Medvedev struggled to regularly hit through Ivashka with his groundstrokes, but he stayed alert to deal with everything his opponent threw at him in the pair’s third tour-level meeting. Ivashka grew into the match and struck the ball cleanly to test the World No. 2 but Medvedev effectively nullified his power before finding a crucial moment to strike. The top seed produced a high-quality game at 5-4 in the second set, breaking to love to reach his first semi-final since Acapulco in February.
The win earned Medvedev a 2-1 lead in his ATP Head2Head series with Ivashka, who is winless in his three tour-level quarter-finals in 2022.
Daniil Medvedev’s semi-final opponent is Adrian Mannarino. The Frenchman, who won the most recent edition of the ATP 250 event in The Netherlands in 2019, earlier overcame #NextGenATP American Brandon Nakashima, 6-7(5, 6-1, 6-4.