Top seed Daniil Medvedev is in full flight in the California desert, handling a lengthy rain delay and Serbian 27th seed Filip Krajinovic to reach the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open on Monday night.
In a showdown that started late due to rain, the Russian managed the cold, windy conditions better as he posted a 6-2, 7-6(1) victory at Indian Wells to set a clash with 23rd seed Grigor Dimitrov. It was his 18th win from his past 19 matches on North American soil.
The Russian won 70 per cent of first-serve points and hit 28 winners to just 16 unforced errors for his 50th match win this season. His opponent finished the 90-minute contest with 15 winners and 20 unforced errors.
“I feel like I’m trying to play a little bit less… just playing the biggest tournaments, or the ones that will get me back into shape so I’m really happy that I managed to get 50 [wins]. It means that I was doing pretty good in a lot of them,” Medvedev said.
“Filip is a really tough opponent. He’s always playing top tennis, very tough matches, especially that second set. [There were a] lot of ups and downs, but I think a great level from both of us. Really happy that in the tie-break I managed to [gain] the edge on my side.”
Krajinovic had been a thorn in Medvedev’s side before. Two years ago, as a No. 113-ranked qualifier he defeated the then-15th seed in straight sets to reach the fourth round at Indian Wells (l. to Nadal).
This year, in the third round of the Australian Open, Medvedev let a two-set lead slip before he stormed home in the fifth to win his 17th straight match. It was his first five-set victory in seven attempts.
Much had changed in the eight months since. Medvedev had climbed to a career-high No. 2 in the FedEx ATP Rankings and importantly landed his maiden Grand Slam trophy at the US Open against Krajinovic’s countryman, Novak Djokovic.
The Russian was on a ruthless streak and stamped his authority early against the World No. 34 as he raced to a 4-0 lead. The set was in the bag after just 35 minutes and Medvedev broke immediately when he ended a 36-shot rally on a flawless drop shot for 1-0 in the second set.
No sooner had he taken control of the match than the Serbian showed why he had proved so difficult for his opponent in the past as he broke twice on his way to a 4-2 lead. Medvedev was made to work hard to prevent a third set and reasserted his dominance in the ensuing tie-break to prevail.