Daniel Medvedev showed further signs of improvement at Thursday’s Western & Southern Open when he confirmed his win in the opening round Botic van de Zandschulp with a win against dynamic leftists Denis Shapovalov.
The 26-year-old defeated Canadian Shapovalov 7-5, 7-5 in an hour and 45 minutes to reach his second ATP Masters 1000 quarterfinal of the season. The top seed suffered a disappointing defeat in the second round Nick Kyrgios in Montreal last week, but he’s looking back at his best time on the courts in Cincinnati.
Medvedev hit his flat backhand with consistency while standing deep behind the baseline on the return to soak up Shapovalov’s left serve and penetrating forehand to go 3-2 in their ATP Head2Head series.
“The match was pretty close. I felt it was a great level. I felt that he was missing a bit more than me, but he scored more points, but that’s how Shapo plays,” Medvedev said in his on-pitch interview. “My goal was to get every possible point to stay there and try to put pressure on him when I had the chance. But there were a lot of points where I just ran across the baseline and tried to get his shots back. Generally happy with the level.”
“Taylor is a great player. We’ve met a few times. before ATP Cup We had one session and I think he beat me, which doesn’t really matter, but I said to my coach, ‘Wow, he can play really well, it can be a good year for him.’ Then he won Indian Wells,” said Medvedev. “Maybe he could have done better in some other tournaments, but he’s a champion  Champion. He’s a great player and I have to do my best to beat him.”
With his victory, Medvedev improved his record in Ohio to 13-4. The 26-year-old clinched his first Masters 1000 crown at the hard-court event in 2019 before reaching the semi-finals last season. He is looking to win his second title of the season this week after triumphing in Los Cabos earlier this month.
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In a hard-fought first duel, Shapovalov kept trying to drag Medvedev across the court, dancing around the ball to smash his forehand into the corners. However, the frontrunner is known for his ability to dig deep and absorb pressure and it showed in the key moments.
Medvedev forced Shapovalov to an overhit in the 11th game of the first set when he earned the crucial break before the pressure overwhelmed Shapovalov again in the latter stages of the second set when Medvedev’s watertight groundstrokes forced the Canadian to miss one too many on serve make at 5-5. Medvedev then swept through his final service game to progress.
Medvedev’s defensive skills frustrated Shapovalov throughout the game and it shows in his INSIGHTS: Steal points. The top seed won 39 percent of the points on defense, well above the tour average of 34 percent. This was in contrast to Shapovalov, who scored just 23 percent of the points on the backfoot.
Daniil Medvedev’s game against Denis Shapovalov” style=”width: 100;” />
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Shapovalov won for the first time since losing in May Thomas Paul to reach the third round in Cincinnati. However, he couldn’t beat Medvedev and advanced to the quarterfinals for the first time in Ohio.