March 26, 2023

Daniil Medvedev, 6th in the world, qualified for the Indian Wells Masters 1000 final by beating 7-5, 7-6 (7/4) American Frances Tiafoe (16th), Saturday in California.

The 27-year-old Russian, undefeated for 19 matches, will try to win a fourth tournament in a row after Rotterdam, Doha and Dubai on Sunday against the Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz (2nd) or the Italian Jannik Sinner (13th).

Faced with Tiafoe, who was playing his first semi-final of a tournament in this category just below the Grand Slams, Medvedev was extremely consistent and most often impassable. And by dint of sending everything back, he often pushed his opponent, particularly feverish on the backhand, to fault.

The Russian took his time in the first set, breaking at 6-5, after failing on three opening chances at 2-2. At that point, Tiafoe landed a few uncrossed forehands and inspired volleys, celebrating his fine gestures, as he often does, by rubbing his thumb and index finger together, like a chef sprinkles spices on his flat.

Not enough to disturb Medvedev, who only gave up three points in his six service games in this set.

The winner at Flushing Meadows in 2021 then broke away in the next, breaking from the start, thanks to a coiled passing, which had enough effect to bite the line.

Tiafoe, who had aroused the enthusiasm of New York fans by reaching the last four at the US Open last year, still resisted. After an abortive opportunity to unbreak at 3-2, he succeeded at 5-4, after a double fault from the Russian.

Medvedev, who had, in the meantime, missed three match points, got a little angry … to better resume the service of the American. But four new chances to finish on his serve were not enough and he was pushed to the tie-break.

A decisive game that he mastered, managing to conclude on his 8th match point with a winning service in 1h46, his fifth victory in as many confrontations with the American.

Solid in his tennis, Medvedev also seemed in full possession of his means, after twisting his right ankle, in the round of 16, before overthrowing the German Alexander Zverev in more than three hours of intense struggle. He had also nicked his right thumb in the quarters, which did not prevent him from overpowering the Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich.

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