Tuesday 17 September 2019

Bad boy Medvedev ends Wawrinka's US hopes

Holding his hands up: Daniil Medvedev gestures to the crowd during an on-court interview after beating Stan Wawrinka in the US Open quarter-final. Photo: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
Holding his hands up: Daniil Medvedev gestures to the crowd during an on-court interview after beating Stan Wawrinka in the US Open quarter-final. Photo: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Steve Keating

Daniil Medvedev may not win any popularity contests at Flushing Meadows but remains on course for a US Open title after taming Stan Wawrinka 7-6(6), 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 to reach his first Grand Slam semi-final.

Wawrinka may not be as popular as his countryman Roger Federer, but 'Stan the Man' - the 23rd seed - has earned considerable respect, along with three Grand Slam titles, including the 2016 US Open, for a workmanlike approach to his craft.

In his third-round win over Feliciano Lopez, the 23-year-old Russian angrily snatched a towel from a ball person, threw his racquet and showed the crowd his middle finger, which led to fines totalling $9,000 (€8,200) and a shower of boos.

But there were none of those antics or sparring with the crowd last night as a focused Medvedev put his head down and got on with the job.

Despite nine double faults, two foot faults and an injury time-out to have work done on his left thigh, Medvedev somehow managed to snatch the opening set with an 8-6 tie-break.

Having reached three consecutive ATP Tour finals coming in to Flushing Meadows, including a win in Cincinnati, Medvedev looked much more like the hottest player in tennis in a dominant second set.

Barrel-chested

Yet the barrel-chested Swiss is nothing if not a battler and broke Medvedev at the first opportunity in the third before holding to cut the deficit to 2-1.

Medvedev, however, grabbed the early break in the fourth and a second to go 5-1 up before closing out the match with a cheeky lob.

Rafael Nadal will take on Diego Schwartzman in the quarter-final after the Spaniard, cheered on by Tiger Woods, mastered 2014 champion Marin Cillic 6-3, 3-6, 6-1, 6-2.

In the women's draw, there was disappointment for English tennis fans as Johanna Konta's bid for US Open glory was ended in the quarter-finals by Elina Svitolina.

Konta was attempting to become the first British woman to reach the semi-finals at Flushing Meadows since Jo Durie in 1983.

But she fell short against a familiar foe, fifth seed Svitolina extending her 100 per cent record against Konta to five matches - 6-4, 6-4 in an hour and 40 minutes.

"I think we were both striking the ball well, it was quite even, I'm just very happy with the way I handled the pressure. I was just taking one point at a time and trying to stay calm," 24-year-old Svitolina reflected.

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