Medvedev Moves One Win Closer To Regaining No. 1 Ranking

Daniil Medvedev (photo: ATP Tour video)

MIAMI/WASHINGTON, March 29, 2022 (by Michael Dickens)

World No. 2 and top seed Daniil Medvedev has quietly but efficiently gone about his business during the Miami Open presented by Itaú to reach the fourth round. The Russian has won four ATP Masters 1000 titles in his career, and he’s four wins shy of garnering another one.

On Monday afternoon at Hard Rock Stadium, Medvedev won 6-3, 6-4 over Spain’s 47th-ranked Pedro Martinez in just under an hour-and-a-half to set up a fourth-round matchup with No. 39 Jenson Brooksby of the United States. The temperamental young American pulled out a 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 victory over No. 15 seed Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain after trailing 0-4 to open the third set.

“I just felt like I had to be more consistent, and the more consistent one today would win,” Medvedev admitted during his post-match interview. It was his second straight-set win in the tournament and came two days after Medvedev beat Great Britain’s 85th-ranked wild card Andy Murray, 6-4, 6-2. “I managed to just make a few less errors at important moments, serve even better, and it was a small margin but I managed to win and I’m really happy.”

Medvedev fired 14 aces, hit 30 winners and won 79 percent (31 of 39) of his first-serve points against Martinez. He outpointed his opponent 65-48.

The 26-year-old Russian is two wins shy of regaining the World No. 1 position in the ATP Rankings from idle Novak Djokovic of Serbia, which he lost two weeks ago. Twelve of Medvedev’s 13 tour-level crowns have come on hard courts and his victory against Martinez was his 178th on a hard-court surface since 2018, which is 38 more than any other player on the ATP Tour covering the same length of time.

Other men’s Monday winners included: Defending Miami Open champion and current No. 8 seed Hubert Hurkacz of Poland, who defeated No. 29 seed Aslan Karatsev of Russia, 7-5, 4-6, 6-3. Next, the World No. 11 Hurkacz will face unseeded Lloyd Harris of South Africa. The 44th-ranked Harris defeated 96th-ranked Japanese qualifier Yoshihito Nishioka, 7-6 (5), 4-6, 7-5, to reach his first Masters 1000 fourth round.

Also, No. 14 seed Carlos Alcaraz of Spain defeated No. 21 seed Marin Cilic of Croatia, 6-4, 6-4, by hitting 16 winners and outpointing his opponent 66-55 during the one-hour and 35-minute match.

“I started the match well,” the World No. 16 Alcaraz said in his on-court interview. “It was important to get confidence at the beginning of the match. [Starting well] was the key in the first set and it was important to be up in the match.”

Next, Alcaraz will play No. 3 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece, who advanced with a 6-4, 6-3 win over No. 25 seed Alex de Minaur of Australia, in an hour and 29 minutes Monday night on Stadium Court. Tsitsipas hit 31 winners and outpointed de Minaur 75-58 to win for the eighth straight time against the Aussie.

“I was able to execute very well today,” said the World No. 5 Tsitsipas. “There were a few moments where I had to fight a little bit and show my inner strength. He fought, as always, and I was very patient. I was trying to focus game after game on how I can open the court and come in.”

Finally, No. 11 seed Taylor Fritz of the United States kept his hopes of winning a “Sunshine Double” alive with his 7-6 (2), 6-4 win over 37th-ranked fellow American Tommy Paul. Next, Fritz will play No. 48 Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia, who mastered No. 38 Sebastian Korda of the United States, 7-6 (4), 6-3.

Swiatek, Osaka both solid in advancing to quarterfinal round

No. 2 seed Iga Swiatek of Poland reached her third straight WTA 1000 quarterfinal with a dominating 76-minute 6-3, 6-1 victory over No. 14 seed Coco Gauff of the United States in a battle between two of the three youngest players in the WTA Top 20.

The 20-year-old Polish star, who will rise to World No. 1 next Monday, won her 14th straight match and league-leading 23rf overall –and moved into her first Miami Open quarterfinal in back of 11 winners while outpointing Gauff 67-43. Swiatek broke the 18-year-old American star in back-to-back service games to close out of the match and converted four of 10 break points on Stadium Court at Hard Rock Stadium.

“I’m happy that I keep going with my good streak. It’s the first time I’ve had a streak like this,” Swiatek said during her on-court interview after the victory that advanced her to face No. 28 seed Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic, who defeated No. 21 seed Veronika Kudermetova of Russia, 7-6 (5), 6-4.

“I don’t even know where my limit is. I try to think there’s no limit,” Swiatek added.

The second-seeded Swiatek remains in the running to become the fourth woman to win the Indian Wells-Miami “Sunshine Double” alongside Steffi Graf (1994, 1996), Kim Clijsters (2005) and Victoria Azarenka (2016). All are former World No. 1 players.

Meanwhile, Japanese superstar Naomi Osaka continued her South Florida run unblemished after reaching the Miami Open quarterfinal round for the second straight year with a 6-3, 6-4 win over American Alison Riske in 92 minutes during Monday’s day session on Stadium Court.

A year ago, Osaka was ranked World No. 2 and was the reigning Australian Open champion. Now, she’s ranked No. 77 and has won three consecutive straight-set matches plus a walk over win.

After enduring a nearly-10-minute service hold that included six deuces points and four break points saved, then breaking the 50th-ranked Riske in the next game, Osaka controlled matters throughout the opening set. Then, she turned a 0-2 deficit into a 4-2 lead and coasted to victory, hitting 40 winners.

Next, Osaka will face No. 9 seed Danielle Collins of the United States, who bested No. 8 seed Ons Jabeur of Tunisia, 6-2, 6-4.

Also advancing to the women’s quarterfinals: Unseeded 249th-ranked wild card Daria Saville of Australia, who defeated 102nd-ranked Italian lucky loser Lucia Bronzetti, 5-7, 6-4, 7-5. Next, Saville will face No. 22 seed Belinda Bencic of Switzerland, who advanced over No. 60 Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus, 6-2, 6-3. Plus, No. 16 Jessica Pegula of the United States won by retirement over No. 51 Anhelina Kalinina of Ukraine, after leading 6-0, and No. 5 seed Paula Badosa ended the run of 16-year-old wild card Linda Fruhvirtova of the Czech Republic, 6-2, 6-3, in an hour and 22 minutes behind 19 winners.

Monday’s Miami Open ATP results

Monday’s Miami Open WTA results

Tuesday’s Miami Open order of play

By the numbers

Daniil Medvedev will return to World No. 1 in the ATP Rankings next week if he reaches the Miami Open semifinals for the first time in his fourth appearance.

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