Daniil Medvedev played inspired tennis in front of energetic Parisian fans to snuff out a stern test from Sebastian Korda 4-6, 6-1, 6-3 en route to the Rolex Paris Masters quarter-finals on Friday night.
Medvedev conjured up a dipping forehand pass laced with spin worthy of a sorcerer that found its way under the American’s racquet to claim the decisive break at 3-2 in the final set. Pandemic-weary fans responded with a Mexican Wave during the changeover and then sustained applause when the players emerged from their seats, earning a smile from Medvedev, hearty laughs from Korda and even a generous smile from umpire Aurelie Tourte.
“I had adrenaline going [from another hot shot earlier in the game] and that’s how it’s possible to make these shots. It was a little bit of luck, a little bit of skill and a little bit of magic,” Medvedev said.
But Medvedev was also focussed on the serious business of continuing his title defense and not handing Novak Djokovic an early path to the year-end No. 1 FedEx ATP Ranking. Defeat to Korda would have guaranteed Djokovic a record-breaking seventh year-end No. 1 finish. If Medvedev wins the Paris title, his faint hopes of finishing No. 1 himself will carry over to the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin.
Medvedev’s victory was anchored in his low unforced error count of 17, fewer than half the 40 Korda made. He earned 14 break point chances, converting five, while dropping serve twice himself.
“It was a tough first set where I felt that I had the margin but I didn’t manage to break him [from 0/40 at 3-2] and he turned it around against me,” Medvedev said. “But I was really happy that I stayed calm and kept my level and that was enough to win today.”
Medvedev next faces the winner of #NextGenATP stars Carlos Alcaraz and Hugo Gaston.