SF Preview: Can Medvedev Extend Winning Streak vs. Tiafoe?

  • Posted: Mar 17, 2023

SF Preview: Can Medvedev Extend Winning Streak vs. Tiafoe?

Both seeking first Indian Wells final

Daniil Medvedev and Frances Tiafoe’s paths to the BNP Paribas Open semi-finals have differed.

Medvedev’s route to his first semi-final in Indian Wells has not been smooth. The fifth seed was pushed to three sets against Ilya Ivashka in the third round, before he overcame a right ankle injury to claw past Alexander Zverev in the fourth round.

Tiafoe’s journey to the same stage has been the opposite, with the American yet to drop a set in Indian Wells. The 25-year-old, currently No. 14 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings, is chasing his maiden ATP Masters 1000 title this weekend and will rise into the Top 10 for the first time if he triumphs.

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Medvedev overcame Alejandro Davidovich Fokina to set a semi-final clash against Tiafoe, but suffered once again, slicing his thumb open during the win. While concerned, the former World No. 1, believes it won’t impact his chances of extending his 18-match winning run and capturing his fifth ATP Masters 1000 title.

“I absolutely cut it open. It was like fully open,” said Medvedev, who twice required treatment to stop the bleeding. “I never cut myself with a knife even like this because I don’t cook much. Now it’s getting black. I don’t know if it’s a good sign.

“The question is going to be whether I tape [my fingers] for the match or not,” Medvedev later added. “But that’s not a big problem, because I managed to play well with the tape today. A lot of players tape their fingers and manage to play well, so I’m going to be able to do it also.”

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Medvedev has been in red-hot form in the past month, capturing tour-level titles in Rotterdam, Doha and Dubai before arriving in Indian Wells. If the World No. 6 claims his fourth consecutive crown this weekend, he will have earned 20 straight wins, equalling the longest winning streak of his career.

For now, his focus will be on Tiafoe, whom he leads 4-0 in their ATP Head2Head series. The 25-year-old Tiafoe enters the clash high in confidence, though, having not dropped a set en route to his first ATP Masters 1000 semi-final. He will be aiming to use his thunderous serve and big forehand to break down Medvedev’s brick wall defence.

“I am able to take the racquet out of players’ hands,” Tiafoe said following his quarter-final win against Cameron Norrie. “I am crafty, I can move. I stay in the points and don’t give away too many free points. I have grown as a player tremendously and it is showing. I am really happy with my progress.”

Tiafoe will need to find his best level if he is to upset Medvedev. The fifth seed has not enjoyed the slow conditions in Indian Wells, but has found a way to win, anchoring himself behind the baseline during his run to the last four. He has used his long levers to absorb pressure before turning the tables with his flat forehand.

Possessing a dynamic game, Tiafoe will try to use his court craft to disrupt Medvedev’s rhythm. He will aim to charge the net and step into the court, using his big forehand to hitting an array of angles to exploit Medvedev’s deep-court position.

Aiming to become the second consecutive American to reach the final in Indian Wells (Taylor Fritz champion 2022), Tiafoe will lean on the experience he gained from his semi-final run at the US Open last year as he looks to earn his 10th Top 10 win.

View Medvedev and Tiafoe’s full ATP H2H series.

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