Daniil Medvedev pulls off a Carlos Alcaraz move against the Spaniard to secure his spot in the US Open final. On Friday night, it was the Russian bloke who was bang on target, nailing those perfect shots and taking home the crackers of points.
A Familiar Start with a Twist
Today was Medvedev’s moment in the sun. The US Open semi between him and Carlos Alcaraz seemed like déjà vu from their past encounters this year. Young Alcaraz was quick off the mark, getting a leg up on his more seasoned rival. Serving at a dodgy 1-2, 15-30 in the opener, Medvedev stuffed up a drop shot, giving Alcaraz the chance to strut in and smack a backhand past him, grabbing two break opportunities. Remembering their previous bouts at Indian Wells and Wimbledon this year, Alcaraz seemed to have Medvedev’s number. Was the lad about to put the former world No. 1 in the shade for the third time running?
After dodging one of those break points, Medvedev botched his first serve. But then, in a twist of events, Alcaraz lunged forward, took a swing, and bloody well sent the ball flying. He quickly shot a glare at his coach’s box, having a bit of a chinwag with his coach, Juan Carlos Ferrero. Yet, instead of Alcaraz ending the game with one of his signature belters, it was Medvedev who smashed a backhand down the line to hold.
Changing Tides and Turning Points
As the match progressed, Medvedev found his rhythm, playing some top-notch, steady tennis, while Alcaraz seemed a bit more rattled than usual. Alcaraz’s frustrations peaked in the first-set tiebreaker. Starting off even-steven at 3-3, Alcaraz dropped the ball literally and figuratively as Medvedev sealed the set in style.
From there, Medvedev took the reins, dominating the second set. He had Alcaraz on the ropes throughout, with the Spaniard not landing a single ace. Medvedev was the one calling the shots, taking control of the rallies and outpacing Alcaraz. The young gun tried to fight back in the third, but Medvedev wasn’t having any of it, holding him off in a marathon fourth set game.
By that point, Medvedev was on fire, calculating his shots to perfection. Alcaraz had been going all guns blazing, and while he had a fair share of wins at the net, going head-to-head with Medvedev’s returns was a dicey play, especially on critical points. And, it bit him in the bum.
While serving at 2-3, Alcaraz unleashed a blinder of a forehand to set up game point, only to falter in the next few points, eventually losing the game. His coach, Ferrero, kept pushing him to stay on the front foot, trying to exploit Medvedev’s deep court play. Maybe next time, Alcaraz might want to think about doing his own thing, perhaps taking a leaf out of Coco Gauff’s playbook.
“After 3-all in the tiebreak, I, let’s say, I lose my mind. I make three or four points without control. I didn’t think,” he said. “I totally lose my mind on that set. It was really tough for me to handle it.” said Alcaraz
Looking Ahead: Challenges and Hope
The biggest win for Medvedev, it seemed, was proving he can still take down a hotshot like Alcaraz, playing his classic baseline game.
This victory was crucial for Medvedev to maintain his standing in tennis, ensuring he isn’t overshadowed by the likes of Alcaraz. But he’s no drongo he’s well aware it was just the semis. The real challenge, facing the tennis juggernaut Novak Djokovic, is still to come on Sunday.