Daniil Medvedev limps to victory in ‘crazy match’ and calls it ‘one of the sweetest victories in my career’
Leg cramps, the heat and Alexei Popyrin could not get the better of Daniil Medvedev as he battled to a three-set win in the third round of the Miami Open.
The top seed was the overwhelming favourite to see off world No 86 Popyrin, but claimed a dogged 7-6 (7-3), 6-7 (7-9), 6-4 victory in two hours and 39 minutes at the Hard Rock Stadium.
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) March 29, 2021
After no breaks in the opening set, Medvedev edged the tie-breaker and although the Russian broke in game four of the second set, the Australian hit back in game nine.
Still leading 5-4 in game 10, the world No 2 then had three match points, but Popyrin refused to go down without a fight as he held serve and went on to take the tie-breaker.
Medvedev started to feel the heat and struggled with leg cramps, but dug deep and a break in game seven of the decider set up the win.
“It’s probably one of the sweetest victories in my career, because I was cramping like hell in the third set,” he said after the win. “It’s one thing when you’re cramping when you’re [ahead in the score], but I started cramping before. It was tough to think about the win in these conditions.
“At the same time, I should have won in two sets and we would not be talking about cramping. But anyway, we have the result on the board and I’m happy that I managed to go through all the difficulties of this definitely crazy match.”
Next up is Frances Tiafoe after the unseeded American beat 16th seed Dusan Lajovic 1-6, 7-5, 6-3.
The winner of that fourth-round tie will face either 2018 champion John Isner or Roberto Bautista Agut in the quarter-final after the former beat Felix Auger-Aliassime in two tie-breakers while Spaniard Bautista Agut beat Jan-Lennard Struff in three sets.
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