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Daniil Medvedev reaches French Open Quarterfinals

Impressively and unexpectedly, Medvedev makes his way into another meeting with Tsitsipas

Daniil Medvedev of Russia celebrates winning against Cristian Garin of Chile during their fourth round match at the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros in Paris, France, 06 June 2021. EPA-EFE/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON 2

By Ricky Dimon

Previously winless all time at the French Open, a resurgent Daniil Medvedev marched into the quarterfinals at Roland Garros on Sunday afternoon.

The result is another chapter in what is the best non-Big 3 rivalry currently going in men’s tennis.

Medvedev rolled over Cristian Garin 6-2, 6-1, 7-5 during fourth-round action, needing only two hours and four minutes to set up a showdown against Stefanos Tsitsipas. The world No. 2 blasted 14 winners as part of his 46 winners–an unbelievable 35 more than Garin.

Thus continues a remarkable Parisian rise for Medvedev, who was 0-4 at this tournament prior to kicking off his 2021 fortnight with a first-round victory over Alexander Bublik. Since then, things have only gotten better and better for the 25-year-old–who beat Tommy Paul in the second round and Reilly Opelka in the third.

“(At) Roland Garros, I need to play like on hard courts because is bouncing low and fast,” Medvedev explained. “I don’t know if it was like this before. (Also) I was just unlucky with the draw. Also I like the balls. (I) said a lot of times, (I) eally like the balls here.

“I learned that I can move really well on clay. For this I need to have good shots. If you don’t have good shots, good players on clay, they start to move you all around the court and you have no chance to get back into the point. That’s what was happening in many tournaments many times.

As I say, here I’m able with these balls, with these conditions, to make shots that not going to let my opponent attack me straightaway. Then I can take control of the game and be a great mover on clay.”

One more win would take Medvedev’s clay-court resume to a whole new level, because Tsitsipas is the third favorite for the French Open title behind only Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. The fifth-ranked Greek, who came within one set of the final last fall, dropped only one set en route to the quarters.

“Playing Stefanos in quarters, by the results this year on clay he’s definitely in top three, top four–together with [Alexander Zverev], Novak, and Rafa–on clay,” Medvedev noted. “I’m really looking forward to this match.”

It’s one that Tsitsipas should also be eagerly anticipating. The 22-year-old may be 1-6 lifetime in the head-to-head series, but this provides him with a golden opportunity to add a second victory against opponent with whom he is not about to go out to dinner with after matches. Medvedev and Tsitsipas may not despite each other as much as they did following their first-ever encounter at the Miami Masters, but they also aren’t the best of friends.

On the court, though, Tsitsipas has plenty of respect of the Russian.

“He does serve extremely well, I have to say,” Tsitsipas assessed about his upcoming matchup. “He has improved over the years with his serve. This is going to be something that I will have to face. Of course, myself playing well, I feel like I don’t have to think against who I’m facing or not. I just have to play my game. Let the rest be witnessed.”

On Tuesday, all witnesses near and far should be in for a treat.

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.