Daniil Medvedev finds ominous level in Beijing blitz

A smirking Daniil Medvedev

Daniil Medvedev looked to be close to his best form as he saw off Australian star Alex de Minaur in a tough China Open last 16 clash.

Medvedev and De Minaur have met in three of the last four ATP Tour events but the Australian didn’t have the answers despite a manful effort across the match which ended just a couple of minutes shy of the two-hour mark.

De Minaur forced a tiebreaker in the first set and would get credit for his tenacity from his opponent.

Medvedev wasn’t surprised that the Aussie put up such fierce resistance after the battles they have had in recent weeks.

“[It was] tough, tough like always,” said Medvedev. “Alex has this ability, everyone knows it that when he’s down, he starts to play better. That’s what happened today. First set, I didn’t manage to count him down, as he was playing better because he was down. Second set I managed to play just unbelievable.

“It’s crazy how every time he is down in a match, you know he is going to start playing like he is No. 1 in the world. Tough to play against him, a tough victory, but I am happy with my level.”

Medvedev won his Tour-leading 40th hard-court match of the season, converting three of nine break opportunities, and progressed to 6-2 in his career head-to-head with De Minaur.

After losing to the Australian in the Toronto quarter-finals in August, he was thrilled to make it two straight wins against the World No 12, whom he also defeated in four sets at the US Open last month.

He feels that self-belief is paramount when heading into a challenging match like the one he had in Beijing on Saturday.

“Confidence is key. When I am in good shape and good form, I have this ability to win these kinds of matches in straight sets,” said Medvedev. “If I’m missing just two per cent of what I’m doing right now, that’s when it’s tougher. That’s what happened in Toronto. I should have won the first set [there]. It’s a matter of a few points, at this moment it’s working and I’m going to try to keep going.”

Medvedev will face Andrey Rublev or Ugo Humbert in the quarter-finals in the Chinese capital having gained the last eight for the 13th time in 18 tour-level events in 2023.

He still retains slim hopes of ending the year as the world No 1.

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