Daniil's Defense Brings Fritz To Breaking Point

  • Posted: Aug 19, 2022

Daniil’s Defense Brings Fritz To Breaking Point

The World No. 1 plays one of the points of the year

Daniil Medvedev is one of the game’s great defenders from deep behind the baseline. On Friday, he produced one of the great defensive plays of the year to steal a point – and a break of serve – from Taylor Fritz that put him on the path to victory in the quarter-finals of the Western & Southern Open.

Trying to stave off break point to avoid going down 0-2, Fritz fired a 121mph serve that stretched Medvedev nearly outside the doubles alley at the beginning of what proved to be a 24-shot rally. The American immediately found himself on offense, standing on top of the baseline for much of the rally while Medvedev was nearly in the front row of the stands, forced to lunge for several balls, but determined to stay in the point and force an error.

After Medvedev struck a backhand down-the-line, which clipped the net, the top-ranked American hit a forehand approach shot cross-court that sent Medvedev outside the TV camera’s view. At full stretch and running out of court at a rapid clip, the four-time ATP Masters 1000 champion managed to throw up a massive moon-ball lob that Fritz took as a baseline overhead.

Medvedev returned the bounced overhead and Fritz made an unforced forehand error on the next ball, perhaps going for too much in the belief that Medvedev would again track down any response that didn’t paint the line.

In his on-court interview, Medvedev enthusiastically recounted the pivotal point.

“I got a little bit unlucky with the net at first because I was going down the line. It was a pretty good shot,” Medvedev said. “I felt he was tiring in the rally, so it could be a gamechanger.

“Finally, he had an easy shot, so I just ran actually. Usually you lose nine out of 10 points like this, maybe even 19 out of 20, so I just tried to put the ball as high as possible to make it tough for him and pray the ball goes in.

“If you look at my reaction first, I thought the ball was probably going out. You can’t judge the trajectory like this, so I stopped playing. I was also really tired. But when I saw the ball dropped in, I was like ‘Okay, let’s continue’, and I managed to put the next ball in and it was enough for him to miss. Sometimes these points happen and if it is on a break point it is a great feeling.”

Medvedev, who will remain World No. 1 at least through the US Open, will play the winner of John Isner and Stefanos Tsistsipas in the semi-finals Saturday.

Source link