MONTREAL, August 11, 2019 (by Michael Dickens)
Daniil Medvedev is in the mix. On Saturday, in an all-Russian semifinal, the eighth seed Medvedev reached his first ATP Masters 1000 final with a 6-1, 7-6 (6) semifinal victory over Karen Khachanov at the Rogers Cup in Montreal.
With his win, the ninth-ranked Medvedev moved ahead of No. 8 Khachanov to become the top-ranked Russian and he’s also the first from Russia to reach the final in Canada since Marat Safin won the Rogers Cup title in 2000.
Medvedev, who has not lost a set through four matches this week in Montreal, has been economical in his time on court, too. He took out the sixth seed Khachanov in the first Masters 1000 semifinal between two Russians in just one hour and 23 minutes to advance against World No. 2 Rafael Nadal. The top-seeded Spaniard moved into the final by walkover after No. 16 seed Gaël Monfils pulled out with an ankle injury following his 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (2) quarterfinal win over No. 10 seed Roberto Bautista Agut, which finished just hours earlier.
Not. Done. Yet! 💪@Gael_Monfils overcomes injury to d. Roberto Bautista Agut 6-4 3-6 7-6(2).
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) August 10, 2019
The Monfils-Bautista Agut quarterfinal round match was originally scheduled for Friday night but was postponed by rain after just two points were played. It was rescheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday afternoon. However, it was further delayed by more rain and didn’t finish until nearly 6 p.m. Saturday evening, just two hours before Monfils was set to face Nadal in the evening semifinal.
“I’m very tired and I hurt myself in the second set,” Monfils was quoted as saying said after his win over Bautista Agut. “I’ll talk to my team and we will see.” Throughout the second and third sets, Monfils appeared to be hampered by a slide he made to his left on the hard-court surface early in the second set. So, it didn’t come as too much of a surprise when Monfils was unable to face Nadal.
Instead of Monfils seeing double duty, Nadal moved into his 51st Masters 1000 final (most all-time) without playing a point. Sunday’s final will be the first career meeting between Medvedev and Nadal.
Although Medvedev was broken twice by Khachanov in the deciding set, including at 5-4 as he tried to serve out the match, he rebounded and was solid in holding his serve during the tie-break, which enabled him to pull out the victory.
A first Masters 1000 final for @DaniilMedwed! 👏
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) August 10, 2019
“I’m playing very well right now. I believe if I am able to play like this, it’s not going to be easy for Rafa,” Medvedev said, quoted by the ATP Tour website. “It’s going to be a big battle. I’m hoping that I can pull it out.”
Thanks to reaching the finals in consecutive tournaments – at Washington and Montreal –Medvedev will move up to sixth place in the ATP Race to London. This is his fifth final of the season and he’s won one title in Sofia.
“To get to the final, you need to win every match you play before,” Medvedev told Tennis TourTalk after reaching the finals at the Citi Open last weekend. “So, my first goal is to win every match I play. That’s how you get points, and that’s how you can get money, and that’s how you can go up the rankings. So, that’s the main goal for me. …
“I mean, I would be happy if I will be in the Masters in the end of the year, but I will not think about it too much. I will take match by match.”
By the numbers
Rafael Nadal will maintain his No. 2 position in the world rankings when the new ATP Rankings are released on Monday. He assured himself of staying put by reaching the Rogers Cup final. Roger Federer will remain at No. 3. Also, Nadal will move into first place in the ATP Race To London ahead of Novak Djokovic. Coming into Montreal, Nadal trailed Djokovic by 500 points (6,725 to 6,225). However, by reaching the final, Nadal is assured of earning at least 600 points. If he beats Daniil Medvedev, he would receive 1,000 points.