Medvedev Reaches China Open Semifinals By Raising Level Of His Game

Daniil Medvedev (photo: China Open/VCG)

BEIJING/WASHINGTON, October 2, 2023 (by Michael Dickens)

With five Top-10 players among the eight quarterfinalists competing at the ATP 500 China Open in Beijing on Monday, Daniil Medvedev, for one, knew the importance of playing consistent tennis and to be able to raise the level of his game during important moments in order to be able to win.

The 27-year-old, second seed from Russia did just that in defeating 36th-ranked Ugo Humbert of France, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, in two hours and seven minutes at the National Tennis Centre. The victory earned Medvedev his 41st hard-court win of the season — most on the ATP Tour — but he had to earn it after struggling to find his best level throughout much of the first two sets. Once Medvedev became focused, he became nearly unstoppable in the final set. Medvedev did not commit any unforced errors in the third set while breaking Humbert’s serve three times and, arguably, the Frenchman’s spirit along the way, too.

“I’m kind of happy that I managed to raise my level in important moments, except a game in the second set,” Medvedev said during his post-match remarks. “It’s great that I managed to still find in this tough match these moments of consistency, which is enough to win. That’s what you have to do.”

Medvedev’s consistency has enabled him to reach the semifinals in 10 of the 18 tour-level events he’s competed in this season and he’s already won hard-court titles in Rotterdam, Doha, Dubai and Miami. On Tuesday, he will go after his eighth title match when he faces Alexander Zverev, who is coming off his title run in Chengdu last week and has won 15 of his last 17 matches. The eighth-seeded German extended his winning streak to seven with a 6-1, 6-7 (5), 6-3 victory over No. 23 Nicolas Jarry of Chile, in two hours and 21 minutes, in which he fired 13 aces and struck 27 winners overall to advance to his 60th career tour-level semifinal.

“I am happy to be in the semifinals,” said Medvedev, who earlier defeated 13th-ranked American Tommy Paul and No. 12 Alex de Minaur of Australia in his Beijing debut. “When you come to the tournament, you always want to go as far as possible. Happy to still be here tomorrow. The further we go, the tougher the matches, the tougher the opponents. That’s normal.”

Alcaraz remains perfect against Ruud

Top seed Carlos Alcaraz faced No. 7 seed Casper Ruud for the first time since defeating him in the final of 2022 US Open en route to capturing his first Grand Slam title. Coming into their quarterfinal match in Beijing, the 20-year-old Spaniard won all three of their previous meetings in their career head-to-head and boasted an 8-3 record against Top 10 opponents this season.

Although the World No. 2 Alcaraz started slow against Ruud and trailed 0-3, he turned things around quickly against the Norwegian with power and intensity and won 6-4, 6-2 in an hour and 45 minutes behind 30 winners to advance to his 12th semifinal of the season. The victory was the 61st of the year for Alcaraz, who leads the ATP Tour in most wins.

“I am very happy, to be able to beat a player like Casper in straight sets is really good,” Alcaraz said in an on-court interview after beating Ruud for the forth straight time. “It means you are playing well. It is really tough, big rallies at the beginning of the match. But I am really happy with the level, being able to find solutions after the start of the first set. These kinds of matches gives you extra confidence.”

Next, Alcaraz will oppose No. 6 seed Jannik Sinner of Italy as he remains alive in his quest for his seventh crown of 2023. Sinner, who has been battling illness in Beijing, recovered nicely after a mid-match struggle to defeat No. 19 Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria, 6-4, 3-6, 6-2, in two hours and 30 minutes. Sinner hit 27 winners and outpointed the 2016 China Open runner up Dimitrov 92-88. It was Sinner’s second win over Dimitrov this year following an earlier victory in Miami.

By the numbers

Carlos Alcaraz improved to 151-38 with his quarterfinal victory over Casper Ruud on Monday. He is through to his 12th semifinal this season in the 14 tournaments he’s entered.

“Quotable …”