Past 1 A.M., Medvedev Reaches US Open Third Round

  • Posted: Sep 01, 2023

Past 1 A.M., Medvedev Reaches US Open Third Round

World No. 3 will next attempt to crack Baez’s 12-match winning streak

Daniil Medvedev will go to bed in the wee hours of Friday morning glad that he navigated through a late-night test in the US Open second round.

The third seed defeated Australian Christopher O’Connell 6-2, 6-2, 6-7(6), 6-2 to capture his 250th hard-court victory and reach the third round of the season’s final major, where he was crowned champion in 2021. Medvedev had two match points at 6/4 in the third-set tie-break before the 29-year-old O’Connell won four consecutive points, two of which were double faults from the World No. 3.

Aiming for his second major title this fortnight, Medvedev was nearly at his best in the opening two sets, displaying all-court coverage and pinning O’Connell with depth on his groundstrokes. Medvedev did not give up a point behind his first serve until 4-1, 40/15 in the second set. But a third-set surge from the Sydney native forced the World No. 3 to regain focus and stay on court until 1:10 a.m. to reach the third round.

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“Tough match. I don’t know why, but at one moment in the match he decided to play better,” joked Medvedev in his on-court interview. “I played the same from the first point to the last. It became much tougher for me, so I’m happy that I was able to still hang in there. I had opportunities in the third set, and I managed to use them in the fourth.”

O’Connell recovered from a break down in the third set by taking earlier cuts at the ball and hitting less slice than he did in the first two sets. He also moved forward more frequently to put pressure on Medvedev, implementing several serve-and-volleys.

The 27-year-old Medvedev quickly responded to a frustrating end to the third set, reverting to consistency from the baseline to avoid any further drama on Louis Armstrong Stadium. After three hours, three minutes, Medvedev converted his fourth match point to improve to 3-0 in his Lexus ATP Head2Head series with World No. 69 O’Connell, who was aiming to reach the third round of a major for the second time this year (Wimbledon).

“When you get frustrated, you never know. You could lose your concentration and the match could become much tougher, or like today, I felt like maybe it helped me a little bit,” Medvedev said. “In general, I felt like it was a great match to play, honestly.”

Pursuing a second major title this fortnight, Medvedev will next look to end Sebastian Baez’s 12-match winning streak in their first meeting.

Medvedev, who is a 20-time tour-level titlist, boasts a 51-11 match record this season, claiming four of his five trophies this year on hard courts. He is the 15th active player to record 250 career hard-court wins (tour-level) and the first under age 30.

Baez advanced after Brazilian qualifier Felipe Meligeni Alves retired with the Argentine leading 6-7(7), 6-4, 6-4. At a career-high No. 27 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings, the 22-year-old Baez is into the third round of a major for the first time. He arrived in New York following two consecutive tour-level titles: Kitzbühel and Winston-Salem.

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