Updated: Aug 30, 2019
Last 3 weeks:
Daniil Medvedev won his first Masters 1000 title last week in Cincinnati with his 7-6, 6-4 over David Goffin. Not only this, Medvedev managed three finals in the space of just three weeks (Washington DC, Montreal, and Cincinnati). In these 3 finals, prior to making the final he only dropped a total 1 set before reaching the final and that was to world number 1 Novak Djokovic. To impress you even more, here are some of the names he has beaten, (in straight sets) the last 21 days; Tiafoe, Cilic, Edmund (x2), Thiem, Khachanov, Paire, Struff, Rublev (who beat Federer) and obviously Goffin before lifting the trophy. We see so many players time and time again win titles (or have good weeks) but are unable to back those performances up the week following. I’ve done some research into finding out how Daniil is different and can be a strong contender to break into the ‘big’ top 4.
2019 so far:
The new world's number #5 has had an incredible year to date. His 44 match wins in 2019 is the most out of any other ATP player, not to mention his two singles titles and hefty prize money of $3.3 million. A big reason for his success is his adaptability on each surface. He is capable to win the title in every tournament he competes in, no matter the surface. His semi final showing in Monte-Carlo (with a win over Djokovic the round before) proved to everyone that he isn’t just a ‘hard court player’. With the week following, he made the final in Barcelona (ATP 500) losing to Dominic Thiem. On grass, a solid showing of a semi final performance in London and a Round 3 loss to Goffin in 5 sets at Wimbledon. Goffin went on to make the quarter-finals.
If you haven’t watched Medvedev play yet, you should. Daniil has a very unique playing style but this makes him very difficult to beat when he’s playing at 100%. Some may call it “boring”, but I call it tactically genius. Standing at 6ft 6, Medvedev has a very strong serve, winning 75% of points when his first serve lands (in 2019). 466 aces so far for the year isn’t too bad either. Despite being a tall player, Medvedev moves around the court like Djokovic or Nishikori. The only player I know who can move that well (at that height) is Del Potro, but Medvedev has the advantage again with his impeccable fitness. It’s difficult to beat someone whose serving statistics have been better than Raonic’s (in 2019) and can still move around the court like he’s Novak Djokovic.
Daniil stands far behind the baseline and relies on his movement, depth, and counter punching style to win matches. Very solid from both the forehand and backhand sides, Medvedev gives you very little free points and opportunities to attack him. It’s so common in modern tennis for players to stand inside the baseline, take the ball early and seek the initiative but Medvedev seems to do the opposite. Medvedev allows his opponent to attack him, neutralizing each shot that comes, causing the opponent to miss. A great example of this what his recent QF match against strong hitter Andrey Rublev.
Around 80% of Medvedev’s groundstrokes were hit down the middle of the court, giving Andrey no angles to work with and caused impatience as the point continued, resulting in erratic errors and poor shot selection. This is a big reason why Medvedev has found recent success against Novak Djokovic, winning the last two times against him. Although Djokovic has the ‘perfect game’, I would say it’s only weakness would be seeking the initiative, whether it’s dictating the point or overpowering his opponent. In the last two meetings, Novak has been unsuccessful in achieving this against Medvedev, who gives away no free points and forces Djokovic to hit shots he usually would never go for (e.g. serve volley, drop shot). I believe Medvedev will be a ‘bogey’ player for Djokovic over the next couple years if these patterns continue.
Daniil Medvedev will go into the US Open next week #5 seed, the highest he’s ever been for a grand slam. With US Open draw coming out yesterday, Medvedev is potentially set up for a Quarter Final showdown (and repeat of the Cincinnati semi final) with Novak Djokovic. Medvedev has never reached a QF place at a grand slam before, and if he were to do it here he’d have a good opportunity to upset Novak for the third match in a row. It will be interesting to see if Medvedev can challenge Djokovic in a 5 set match, and the form they finds themselves in if they were to win their first four matches. No matter how good or bad Medvedev does in this years US Open, I think it’s fair to say Medvedev has had a year to remember so far.