Daniil Medvedev levels his Lexus ATP Head2Head series with Carlos Alcaraz at 2-2 with a win in the US Open semi-finals.
2021 champion reflects on win against Alcaraz, looks ahead to facing Djokovic
Daniil Medvedev was happy with his performance Friday evening when he ousted defending champion Carlos Alcaraz to reach the US Open final. But the 2021 titlist knows the job is not done.
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“I said I need to play 11 out of 10, all three sets I won I managed to do it. In the third set I would say I was maybe nine and a half, maybe 10 out of 10, and as we saw it was not enough against Carlos,” Medvedev said. “I managed to play well, I managed to serve well, hit some lines in important moments, some great shots. Just really happy, but the tournament is not over.”
Medvedev now faces the man whom he stunned at Flushing Meadows two years ago for his first major championship: Novak Djokovic. The Serbian eliminated American Ben Shelton earlier in the day.
“Against Novak, it’s the same. He is always better than previous time he plays. For example, I beat him in the US Open final, he beat me in Bercy in a great match. Carlos beat him at Wimbledon, he beat him in Cincinnati,” Medvedev said. “Novak is going to be his best version on Sunday, and I have to be the best-ever version of myself if I want to try to beat him.”
In the 2021 final, Djokovic was trying to become the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to win all four majors in the same season. Instead, Medvedev sent him off the court with a straight-sets defeat. But Medvedev is expecting a much better version of Djokovic this time around.
“Novak, when he loses, he’s never the same after. So he’s different. It’s just a different mentality. That’s why he has 23 Grand Slams, [39 ATP] Masters 1000s, weeks at No. 1,” Medvedev said. “So I have to use it knowing that he’s going to be 10 times better than he was that day. And I have to be, if I want to still beat him, 10 times better than I was that day. That’s what I’m going to try to do.”
Medvedev entered the semi-finals in New York having lost all five sets he played against Alcaraz this year. The third seed found his best tennis to change the momentum in their Lexus ATP Head2Head.
“I guess for the confidence and self-esteem, it’s very important. At the same time that’s the thing about tennis. It’s great that I won this match, but if I lose on Sunday, the tournament, it’s a good tournament, but I’m going to be disappointed. That’s how tennis is,” Medvedev said. “It was a great win, it’s great for the confidence. I have hopefully [many] years of career ahead. And to know I’m capable of doing it on the big stage, every time you do it one more time brings more confidence.
“You know you can do it again. You want to do it again. You want to feel this. And at the same time, what is the most important is to kind of use it, but forget about it and go for the next one.”
One thing Medvedev will hope to carry with him into the final is his serving level. The 27-year-old won 82 per cent of his first-serve points against Alcaraz.
“Against someone like Carlos you have to serve well. You have no other choice. If he’s all over your serve, he’s all over you in a way,” Medvedev said. “I managed to hit some good serves, to hit some good zones, to mix it up in important moments. We can call it lucky second serves, because when you go for it, there is part of luck. But you also take the risk, which if you’re lucky, this risk can pay off. Today was great, so as I said, it has to be the same on Sunday.”
Medvedev will now try to mentally reset knowing that upsetting the defending champion was not enough to lift the trophy. He has one more big hurdle, a 23-time major winner, to overcome.
“You want to fight ’til the end, you want to win,” Medvedev said. “And that’s how you should be in the final of a Grand Slam.”
Image credits: © Matthew Stockman
Originally published at ATP Tour
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