(Miami) Daniil Medvedev, 5th in the world and main competitor of defending champion Carlos Alcaraz, enforced logic on Thursday by beating (6-3, 7-5) American Christopher Eubanks (119th), from qualifying, to rally the Miami Masters 1000 semi-finals.
The 27-year-old Russian, who remains on a lost final in Indian Wells against the Spaniard World No.1, reaches this stage of the Florida event for the first time, after being stopped in the quarters in the two previous editions. He will try to do even better, in the next match, against a bigger client, his compatriot Karen Khachanov (16th).
Khachanov easily brushed aside Argentina’s Francisco Cerundolo (31st) 6-3, 6-2, again showing his ability on hard courts, as he reached the last four at the United States Open last year and at the Australian Open in January.
During a game that was not always easy, Medvedev was clinical and very realistic in the first set, against an opponent whose game was sometimes unpredictable, paying for his inexperience for his first at this stage of a tournament in this category, just below the Grand Slams. Evidenced by his two break points converted in as many opportunities, after erasing the five that the American obtained.
“It was very complicated. I feel like he did better than me at the start of the game. And I managed to turn things around, putting a lot of pressure on him,” Medvedev said afterwards.
“I knew we were both going to try to impose our style. I had opted to try to do long rallies, which I think is not what he likes, knowing that he was going to try a few shots, sometimes not even the right ones, to break the rhythm and make the stitches shorter. And that’s what happened,” he added.
The 26-year-old Eubanks, whose surprising career in Miami will allow him to enter the top 100 for the first time next Monday, did not seem affected by this scenario or paralyzed by the stakes. He was even the most aggressive in the second set, eventually fielding more winners than Medvedev (37 vs. 27) and even fewer unforced errors (10 vs. 11)!
Even if it was sometimes confusing, he was able to place superb attacks to finally steal the Russian’s serve and come back to 4-3. But the 2021 US Open winner then managed to avoid a trap-like tiebreak, breaking again at the best moment, 6-5, to close the deal on his third match point. , in 1:29.
Winner successively in Rotterdam, Doha and Dubai in February, Medvedev now has 22 successes in his last 23 games.