(Indian Wells) A twisted ankle, a surface he hates and Alexander Zverev in clear progress did nothing: Daniil Medvedev overcame everything, courage, adrenaline and talent to reach the quarter-finals of the Indian Wells Masters 1000, Tuesday.
The Russian, 6th player in the world ended up overthrowing the German (14th) 6-7 (5/7), 7-6 (7/5), 7-5. His 17th win in a row.
With three tournaments won consecutively in Rotterdam, Doha and Dubai, he asserts himself as one of the big favorites for the title, with the Spaniard World No.2 Carlos Alcaraz.
But we will have to see how the state of Medvedev’s ankle evolves in the coming hours, as he reaches this stage for the first time in the Californian desert, where he will face the Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich (28th), winner 6 -3, 6-4 from Chilean Cristian Garin (97th).
He hurt himself on a break point in his favor, at 3-2 in the second set. On a support, his ankle bent suddenly inwards, then outwards. Struggling to hide his pain, he saw Zverev running towards him.
And for good reason, the scene inevitably brought the German back nine months, when he himself suffered a similar injury in the semi-finals of Roland-Garros. He had to give up against Rafael Nadal, struck down by a serious ligament tear, which required an operation and kept him away from the courts for six months.
“I sprained my ankle quite badly. But I said to myself “OK, I will get up, I will be fine”. And then I stayed on the ground because the pain was mounting. I then thought it was better for me to quit,” Medvedev said afterwards.
Treated by the physio, who put a bandage on him, he found the strength to continue, despite a scenario so far very unfavorable, since he had given up the first set. A rather deserved advantage for Zverev, more enterprising, who had three missed chances at 6-5, before seizing the fifth in the tiebreaker.
Whereupon, the Russian piqued his daily anger in Indian Wells, as in every game since the start of the tournament, castigating the slowness of the field. “It’s a disgrace to the sport, this court!” It’s not a hard court, I know what knows, a hard court, I’m a specialist, “he complained to the referee, who remained unmoved, under the amused gaze of Zverev.
A game that struggles to express itself, an obvious frustration and, to top it off, an injury… it was enough for Medvedev to play the phoenix.
His first runs were cautious, but his shots far more precise and sharp, refusing to give up. Saving no less than ten break points, he made the difference in the second decisive game, during which he took out the big shots he needed.
Driven by renewed energy, Medvedev again took the upper hand in the final round, his mobility showing no discomfort, even if he called on the physio again to have his left thigh massaged.
“What was surprising was that it was easier for me to run than to walk,” he explained. I limped, when I walked, but I could move pretty well, probably 95%, although I had cramps at the end. »
The 2021 US Open winner pulled away 3-1, but Zverev let loose to break at 5-5 saving a match point in the process. To immediately … crack, betrayed by a double fault offering his service game to Medvedev who did not ask for so much, to finally conclude in 3:17.
“I know the adrenaline is going to die down, it might be painful. I’m going to need to rest,” he concluded, after a “crazy game.”