Medvedev Blunts Dimitrov’s Fast Start To Advance In Vienna

  • Posted: Oct 26, 2023

Medvedev Blunts Dimitrov’s Fast Start To Advance In Vienna

Rublev moves past Arnaldi to secure Nitto ATP Finals spot

Daniil Medvedev and Grigor Dimitrov treated the Vienna crowd to an Austrian National Day treat Thursday at the Erste Bank Open.

The top seed and defending champion Medvedev dug deep for a 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 triumph in front of a packed crowd at the Wiener Stadthalle, hauling himself back into the second-round contest after Dimitrov had made a lightning-fast start at the ATP 500.

“It was a great match,” said Medvedev in his on-court interview. “He started really well and I was missing just a little bit too much. He was ahead and starting from the second set I started to play better, to run better, to put more balls in the court and play faster when I needed to.

“I managed to have small control of the match, but it was very tough and could have gone either way. I’m very happy I managed to do it.”

Medvedev was uncharacteristically wayward with his groundstrokes in the early stages, although he was given little time to settle as Dimitrov delivered a high-quality opening set that included some breathtaking moments of quality off both wings. Once Medvedev rediscovered his trademark defensive skills, however, he was able to slow the Bulgarian’s charge.

The top seed broke in the opening game of the second set and barely looked back to force a decider. He showcased his big-moment mentality in the ninth game of the final set, when he broke Dimitrov’s serve decisively to love. Medvedev finished with 31 winners, including 14 aces, to improve to 6-2 in his Lexus ATP Head2Head series with Dimitrov.

Medvedev is now 3-0 against Dimitrov indoors, having dominated the Bulgarian in the semi-finals in Vienna a year ago and in Rotterdam in February. Although Dimitrov ensured Thursday’s clash was a far closer affair, the World No. 3 Medvedev held firm to set a quarter-final clash against eighth seed Karen Khachanov.

Thursday’s triumph was a Tour-leading 45th hard-court win for the 27-year-old Medvedev, who has already secured his spot for the season-ending Nitto ATP Finals.

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Joining Medvedev at the prestigious season finale in Turin will be Andrey Rublev, who also booked his quarter-final spot on Thursday in Vienna by beating Matteo Arnaldi 7-5, 6-3.

Rublev reeled off five games in a row from 5-5 in the first set to take control of the second-round clash, and finished the match having struck 21 winners to Arnaldi’s 19. With his 86-minute triumph, the 26-year-old Rublev, who is fifth in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin, made sure of his Nitto ATP Finals place.

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Arnaldi was chasing his second Top 10 win of the year after he beat Casper Ruud in May in Madrid, and he made life tough for Rublev early on in their maiden Lexus ATP Head2Head meeting. Rublev’s greater power on return ultimately told, however, and the 2020 Vienna champion raised his level as the match went on to seal a big-hitting last-eight clash with fifth seed Alexander Zverev.

“I had a really great opportunity in the first [return game], but I didn’t take it, and then it was tough to start rallies in return games because he was serving really well,” said Rublev. “He was playing second balls really well and I couldn’t start rallies.

“Then when I was able to win a set, then I started to feel better. He maybe started to feel a bit more down, his serve was not the same as in the first set, and I started to feel a lot more confident.”

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