Daniil Medvedev is competing for the first time as a Top 10 player in the ATP Rankings this week at the Citi Open, and the Russian is showing why he was able to achieve that milestone.
The third seed continued his strong run in Washington, D.C., eliminating sixth seed Marin Cilic 6-4, 7-6(7) after one hour and 34 minutes.
“I try to do everything as I did before to become [a member of] the Top 10. I’m still going up. I try to do all [things] the same: hard work, just try to win,” Medvedev said. “I always said my first goal is to win every match I play. This doesn’t change. After, for sure you have some pressure because you want to stay in the Top 10, you want to go up in the Top 10. It’s getting harder and harder to gain even one spot, which is normal. But if I play good, if I manage to win matches, I’m going to be higher.”
Medvedev was dominant on serve, striking 19 aces to Cilic’s four. The 23-year-old did not face a break point in the match, winning 80 per cent of his service points in his first FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting against the Croat, who ousted #NextGenATP Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime on Thursday.
“I served really great. That was one of the keys,” Medvedev said. “It was a really tight match. I managed to do what I had to do: hold my serve and win the tie-break. I’m really happy with my level of play.”
The Russian was cool under pressure in the second-set tie-break, saving a set point en route to his straight-sets triumph. At 6/7, Medvedev hit a booming ace out wide, before showing great finesse with a perfect drop shot at 7/7 to earn his second match point. Neither player dropped a set point in the tie-break until that moment, when Cilic missed a forehand long.
World No. 10 Medvedev, who won his first ATP 500 title last year in Tokyo, is now just two victories from claiming his second crown at this level and his fifth triumph on the ATP Tour. In the next round, he will face lucky loser Peter Gojowczyk.
Entering the week, the German had not made a quarter-final at any level in 2019. And it appeared that would not change at the Citi Open, where he lost in the final round of qualifying against Donald Young.
But on Friday, the 30-year-old advanced to the semi-finals in Washington, D.C. thanks to a 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 victory against No. 13 seed Kyle Edmund. The German is into the last four of an ATP 500 tournament for the first time.
“I was surprised that I [got to] play here in Washington, D.C. Now I’m in the semis. Sometimes it’s like this,” Gojowczyk said. “To be a lucky loser and to be relaxed even in the first match and second, to be relaxed on the court, to hit the ball hardest what you can, don’t think about it, that’s maybe the key.”
Gojowczyk gained entry into the main draw after Bernard Tomic withdrew due to a finger injury. In the first round, he needed a final-set tie-break to battle past Andrey Rublev. And ever since, he has been on a tear against seeded opponents, ousting 12th seed Alex de Minaur, eighth seed Milos Raonic and now Edmund.
The World No. 122 faced break point as he tried to serve out the match at 5-3 in the decider, but he was able to blast a first serve down the T, forcing an error from the Brit. Soon thereafter, following an Edmund backhand error on match point, Gojowczyk leaned over as he pumped his fist, letting loose a massive celebratory roar.
Gojowczyk is now just two wins away from claiming his first ATP Tour title.
Did You Know?
Gojowczyk is the first lucky loser to reach the semi-finals of an ATP 500 tournament since Italian Andreas Seppi accomplished the feat last year in Rotterdam.