Medvedev Outlasts Dimitrov

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Grigor Dimitrov's third trip to a Grand Slam semi-final ended again with disappointment, losing in straight sets (7-6, 6-4, 6-3) to Russia's new 23 year old star, Daniil Medvedev, who moved up to number 4 in the world with this victory and his first trip to a Grand Slam final.
After trading early breaks in the first set, both players settled down and dueled from the baseline, daring their opponent to fight for every point. Grigor was the more consistent and earned a set point against Medvedev's serve at 5-6, but failed to capitalize and the set went to a tiebreaker at 6-6.
This is where they both got nervous, each hitting a double fault and failing to take advantage of their opponent's errors. Medvedev finally forced his will and won the tiebreak 7 points to 5.
The match pivoted here and Grigor lost some of his momentum and failed to adjust his game to counter this clever and opportunistic player.
Even when Medvedev appeared to be flagging, gasping for breath and double faulting points away, he always raised his game at key moments of games to keep Grigor a step behind in the score.
Tied 4-4 is set 2, Medvedev held serve after going to deuce multiple times and winning the longest rally of the match of 39 shots. The very next game Dimitrov attempted the same feat, with repeated deuces and many chances to win the game, yet he failed to win the big point and lost his serve and the set 4-6.
At this point Grigor looked as confused as Stan Wawrinka did in his quarter final loss to Medvedev, when whatever game plan he had for the match was futile against the defense and wily strategy of the Russian.
Medvedev says he likes to play chess and it shows in his ability to think on the court, changing his style of play during the match, and even during a game, to suit his opponent's play and weaknesses. And unlike some of his flashy Russian compatriot players, his game is more akin to the style of Andy Murray in his defense, athleticism, and ability to figure out a way to win matches.
Set 3 was over quickly when double faults and errors gave Medvedev the break and all the advantage he needed at 3-1 and easily held serve three more times to win the final set.
Although Grigor couldn't take that next step in his career to play in his first Grand Slam final, the 2019 U.S. Open was a great success for his comeback to competitive tennis and he had one of the biggest wins of his career over the dominant Roger Federer.
And this new confidence combined with a new racquet, new coaches, and a high fitness level will surely aid him in his struggle to retain top form in 2020.
Written by Evan Fabricant & Dana Gardner

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