Wimbledon Is Special To Medvedev: ‘I Love Grass’

Daniil Medvedev (photo: Wimbledon video)

LONDON/WASHINGTON, July 1, 2021 (by Michael Dickens)

The highly-anticipated matchup between men’s No. 2 seed Daniil Medvedev and #NextGenATP rising star Carlos Alcaraz on Centre Court never really materialized on Day Four of the Wimbledon Championships Thursday. That’s because Medvedev was all business in his 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 victory over the 75th-ranked Spaniard that lasted just an hour and 34 minutes.

Medvedev and Alcaraz each hit 20 winners, but the similarities ended there. That’s because Medvedev won 95 percent (38 of 40) of his first-serve points, converted seven break points, made only 12 unforced errors and caused his opponent to commit 28 unforced errors. He outpointed Alcaraz 89-57.

“I love grass,” Medvedev said during his on-court interview that followed his victory. “Wimbledon is always going to be special for me.”

The World No. 2 Medvedev took time to praise Alcaraz, the youngest among the ATP Top 100, who received a much-deserved wild card into the main draw.“The faster you go at a Grand Slam the better, but Carlos is an amazing player,” he said. “I was actually even surprised in a way with the first set. Grass is definitely not his best surface, but he was giving it all there. Of course, [in the] second and third sets, maybe the gap was too high. But I’m sure he’s going to be sooner or later in the Top 10 and maybe even higher. …

“What he is doing is pretty special because in his first Grand Slams, he’s made a victory in Australian Open, made third round in Roland-Garros [and won a match here]. My first four Grand Slams, I had actually only one victory and it was here in Wimbledon on Centre Court. So, Wimbledon is always going to be special for me.”

Medvedev is through to the third round at the All England Club for his third straight appearance and will go after his first round of 16 appearance on Saturday against No. 32 seed Marin Cilic, the 2017 Wimbledon finalist, who beat 119th-ranked qualifier Benjamin Bonzi of France, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (5), in three hours and four minutes on the strength of 59 winners.

“In Russia we say the third one is the lucky one, so hopefully that will work,” said Medvedev, breaking in laughter. “But if not, I know that I might be playing Marin … that could be a real matchup for the third round, so not an easy game. But I just need to show my best tennis and like this I’m going to have chances to win the game.”

Not at her best, No. 1 Barty still prevails

World No. 1 and top seed Ashleigh Barty advanced to the third round with a 6-4, 6-3 win in an hour-and-a-half over Russia’s Anna Blinkova on Centre Court. Despite double-faulting nine times, committing 33 unforced errors and having her serve broken three times, Barty still was the better player. She hit 33 winners and outpointed Blinkova 77-63.

Next, Barty will meet No. 64 Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic, who beat 163rd-ranked American Coco Vandeweghe, in the third round on Saturday.

“It was a tough one,” Barty, who is playing in her first grass-court tournament in two years, said in press after her win against the 89th-ranked Blinkova. “A few things didn’t feel quite right today. That’s half the battle in sport – being able to find a way when it’s not feeling all that great. I felt like when my back was against the wall today, I was able to bring the good stuff. It just wasn’t quite there all the time. We have another opportunity to now go out on the practice court, work on it, try to bring some good stuff in the third round.”

Norrie’s win means three Brit men into third round

British No. 2 Cameron Norrie was solid in his 6-3, 6-1, 6-2 victory in an hour and 35 minutes over 149th-ranked Australian wild card Alex Bolt on No. 1 Court. The 34th-ranked Norrie, seeded 29th at this year’s Wimbledon, hit 16 winners but made just 10 unforced errors, 28 few than his opponent, whom he broke seven times in 12 opportunities. Norrie outpointed Bolt 91-60 to set up a potential third-round match on Saturday – likely on Centre Court – against eight-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer, who defeated longtime foe Richard Gasquet of France, 7-6 (1), 6-1, 6-4 in an hour and 51 minutes, sealed with his 10th ace on match point to go with 50 winners.

The ovation that the 25-year-old Norrie received from the appreciative crowd moved him. During his on-court interview after his win, he reflected on what it meant to reach the third round for the first time: “You guys were amazing, such a nice round of applause. It definitely made it feel more special. I’m very happy to be through the third round. Couldn’t be more pleased with myself. … My first time on Court 1, I definitely enjoyed it.”

When Norrie, one of three British men along with Dan Evans and Andy Murray to reach the round of 32, was asked whom he would prefer to play, either the 20-time Grand Slam champion Federer or Gasquet, Norrie smiled at the question, then quipped: “C’mon Gasquet!” It drew wild applause. “It would be special to play Roger or Richard – they’re both experienced players – definitely another opportunity to get out on the court and enjoy another match at Wimbledon. If it’s my time to play Roger, I guess this is the best time, I guess. He’s still a good player.”

Delighting on Day 4 with wins

Biggest upset in the women’s draw

World No. 44 Magda Linette of Poland had never defeated a Top 10 player in a completed match before Thursday. That changed as she beat World No. 5 and third seed Elina Svitolina of Ukraine, 6-3, 6-4 in just 64 minutes on No. 2 Court. It was Svitolina’s earliest Grand Slam defeat in three years.

Linette, 29, who earlier in the day was confirmed to play singles and doubles for Poland’s Olympic team, reflected on her achievement in press: “It’s huge for me. I think twice I was so close to beat[ing] Elina, I was close to winning a set twice. I think I lacked experience and everything was a bit overwhelming, and I think becusae of those matches then, I gained a lot of experience and I knew way better what to do on Court and how to handle myself.

“So, it means a lot. I just proved to myself I could beat these kind of players and I’m really happy I managed to beat somebody ranked much higher than me at a big tournament and on a bigger stage.”

Around the All England Club


• Fourth seed Alexander Zverev won his 26th match of the year with a 7-5, 6-2, 6-3 win over American Tennys Sandgren in one hour and 45 minutes on No. 2 Court. The World No. 6 from Germany hit 13 aces and dropped just 12 points on his serve. Next, Zverev will face No. 31 seed Taylor Fritz of the United States, who survived a five-set battle with fellow American Steve Johnson, 6-4, 7-6 (4), 4-6, 6-7 (4), 6-4.

“For a second round, I played very decent tennis, but I also do know that there will be guys, there will be opponents who will not let me play this well and who will not let me play this well and who will try to break my rhythm, who will try to break my game up,” Zverev said during his post-match press conference.

• No. 7 seed Matteo Berrettini improved to 7-0 on grass following his 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (4) victory over 139th-ranked lucky loser Botic Van de Zandschulp of the Netherlands. The World No. 9 from Italy fired 20 aces during his two hour and 17-minute victory on No. 3 Court.

“It gives me confidence because I know I can win these kinds of matches, even though I’m not playing my best tennis. I won in straight sets with a guy that was playing really good. It means I played a really good level. At the same time, I know that I can play better.”

Next, Berrettini will play Aljaz Bedene of Slovenia, who needed just 84 minutes to beat Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan, 6-1, 6-0, 6-2.

• No. 17 seed Cristian Garin of Chile advanced to the third round at Wimbledon for the first time with a 7-6 (3), 6-2, 2-6, 7-6 (5) victory over 154th-ranked qualifier Marc Polmans of Australia. Next, the World No. 20 Garin will face No. 107 Pedro Martinez of Spain, making his Wimbledon debut, who upset No. 13 seed Gaël Monfils of France, 6-3, 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (5), in three hours and 12 minutes.

• A day after upsetting No. 12 seed Casper Ruud, World No. 78 Jordan Thompson of Australia advanced over Japan’s Kei Nishikori, ranked 53rd, 7-5, 6-4, 5-7, 6-3, by hitting 13 aces and winning 81 percent (65 of 80) of his first-serve points.

• The men’s doubles draw got under way Thursday as 20 first-round matches were on the order of play. No. 1 seeds Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic, both of Croatia, advanced to the second round with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Jonathan Erlich of Israel and Andrey Vasilevski of Belarus. Next, they will face Aussie duo Alex de Minaur and Matt Reid, who beat British wild cards Luke Johnson and Anton Matusevich, 7-6 (3), 6-2.


Other than the upset of No. 3 seed Elina Svitolina to Magda Linette, coupled with losses by No. 15 seed Maria Sakkari of Greece, who lost 7-5, 6-4 to American Shelby Rogers, and No. 12 seed Victoria Azarenka of Belarus, who was ousted by Romania’s Sorana Cirstea, it was a pretty good day for seeded women in the upper half of the draw. That’s because No. 14 Barbora Krejcikova of the Czech Republic, No. 16 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia, No. 19 Karolina Muchova of the Czech Republic, No. 20 Coco Gauff of the United States, No. 25 Angelique Kerber of Germany, and No. 30 Paula Badosa of Spain all were victorious.

“There’s no court like Centre Court Wimbledon,” Gauff said after her 71-minute, 6-4, 6-3 win over 370th-ranked Russian Elena Vesnina, in which the American teenager served nine aces and hit 19 winners in outpointing her opponent 60-52.

However, the match of the day belonged to the 28th-ranked Kerber and No. 50 Sara Sorribes Tormo of Spain, who fought for three hours and 19 minutes on No. 2 Court – the longest women’s match of the fortnight thus far. Kerber, who last weekend won her first tournament since Wimbledon in 2018 at Bad Homburg, Germany, prevailed 7-5, 5-7, 6-4 over Sorribes Tormo to move into the third round for the eighth time in her career. In a match that included 223 points and a combined 15 breaks of serve, Kerber came out ahead at the conclusion.

Although Sorribes Tormo saved a match point in the second set and pushed the match to a decider, Kerber broke at love in the final game of the match to win. She finished with 47 winners and outpointed Sorribes Tormo 118-105.

Thursday’s Wimbledon results

Friday’s Wimbledon order of play

By the numbers

French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova extended her winning streak to 14 matches across two surfaces – clay and grass – today.

“Quotable …”

“At 41, I don’t think I’ll be able to honestly hit another ball. She’s a legend. Maybe she can teach me some of that calm, the water-type energy. I’m super excited. I can tell she’s excited, too. I don’t think she ever thought back in the day she’d be playing mixed doubles with the bad boy of tennis.”

Nick Kyrgios, 26, of Australia on playing mixed doubles with Venus Williams, 41, of the United States. The 60th-ranked Kyrgios won his second-round singles match over No. 77 Gianluca Mager of Italy, 7-6 (7), 6-4, 6-4.

“Grass-court tennis is where it’s at. I wish we could play the whole year on grass. It’s a traditional surface, I just love it.”

Ashleigh Barty, No. 1 women’s seed after her 6-4, 6-3 victory over Anna Blinkova

“I look at Wimbledon always with a special feeling. The first time I was here, I was just feeling like it’s a temple. Being here, playing and feeling good, just everything is really nice.”

– World No. 9 and seventh seed Matteo Berrettini of Italy