No one has won more matches on the tour this year than Daniil Medvedev. The Russian has gone from strength to strength this season despite difficult spells but his 44 match wins is a tour high with Rafael Nadal in second with 41.
Like I said, he had a blip. Semi-finalist in Monte-Carlo and finalist in Barcelona it looked like being a good clay court season but four defeats on the bounce and no wins at Madrid, Rome or Roland Garros were unexpected.
Daniil following his first Masters 1000 win in Cincinnati will be hoping to make a mark in New York but has had some Grand Slam nightmares this year.
At Roland Garros he led Pierre-Hugues Herbert by 6-4 6-4 but lost 4-6 4-6 6-3 6-2 7-5 against the Frenchman in round one.
A few weeks later he was two sets to one up against David Goffin at Wimbledon and in the fourth led 4-1 before losing the set 6-3 and then the match 7-5 in the fifth.
He has played a lot of tennis. Cincinnati was his 19th scheduled tournament of the year but even with the amount of matches in the last three weeks in Washington, Montreal and Cincinnati he has looked tired.
In the 16 singles matches he has played 15 of them have been straight set matches and has played his heart out as well as covering over 14 miles of ground during the last few weeks.
I saw a piece before the match that said Daniil is winning ugly and I thought well that is disrespectful.
He does have a different style of tennis but I do think it is grossly unfair to call it ugly as it is eye catching.
His serve isn’t some big motion. It is quick, snappy and effective. I think his style is very clever and here’s a look at some shot placement from his win against Djokovic in Monte-Carlo in April.
This shows a lot.
He isn’t afraid as we know to get involved in backhand to backhand exchanges. His backhand isn’t the conventional swing but he hits a flat and true ball and is comfortable leaving the forehand side open as he can move there find great scope on the shot.
Something that is quite evident in the graphic above, the way he plays and his character is he is fearless in rallies. The deep and relentless hitting isn’t luck or fluke but belief in his game and to be where he is now emphases how good a year he is having.
He is a guy with a plan. I first saw him against Wawrinka at Wimbledon after watching him at Queens in 2017 and he just knows what he has to do. He peppered the Wawrinka backhand with his deep forehand putting him on the back foot.
There have been times where things have derailed in matches but he does react quite quickly and looks to turn it around.
This year he has beaten;
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (twice)
David Goffin (twice)
Fernando Verdasco (twice)
Novak Djokovic (twice)
Kyle Edmund (twice)
A whole collection of extremely talented tennis players and his win/loss record against top 40 players is 23 wins and 11 defeats for a guy who began his year ranked at 16 and is now at 5 in the world.
New York contender?
Of course he is to an extent. He has played some outstanding tennis this season and of late but going from best of three to best of five is tough change.
He hasn’t made it past the fourth round of a major yet so there is still soo much to be done. I will be surprised but pleasantly surprised if he does go deeper than the quarter finals.
His career win/loss in main draws of majors since 2011 is 11/11 so asking to go from a bit part player to contender is tough ask but he could.
He has beaten Novak twice and some other top players but that change has been tough for younger players as they haven’t been exposed much for the best of five format except for majors.
We don’t have it anymore at Olympics, Davis Cup or in Masters finals so does it make it tougher for younger players? I think so.