Miami Open: Roger Federer outsmarts Daniil Medvedev to reach quarters
Exactly an hour: that's how long it took for Roger Federer to beat Daniil Medvedev 6-4, 6-2 in the 4th round of the Miami Open to reach the quarter-finals. With his masterful performance, Federer once again proved that he is multiple tricks up his sleeve and can beat anybody on his day.
The two players were disciplined at the start and held serve comfortably. Just 19 minutes into the match, the score was 4-4. Federer won 10 consecutive points on his serve from the baseline whereas Medvedev won 9 consecutive points on his serve from the baseline too.
The story changed in the 9th game though as one drop-shot return from Federer off the Medvedev serve forced an error from the Russian and took the score to 15-30. From then on, Federer marched through as Medvedev went into a funk and lost the shape on his groundstrokes.
Serving for the set at 5-4, Federer got into trouble as he went three break points down. But he turned it around by firing two aces and winning five points on the trot to take the game and with it the set 6-4.
Federer and Medvedev played two 35-shot rallies in the first set, and Federer won them both as his sliced backhand helped him stay in the point and force an error out of the Russian. For the most part Federer was playing within himself, daring Medvedev to go for the kill, since he knew that the Russian often struggles to finish points. The tactic worked like a charm, as Medvedev couldn't hit his way out of Federer's bewildering mix of spins and painstaking consistency.
Medvedev seemed down mentally as he lost his first service game in the second set. Both the forehand and the backhand from Federer were now working perfectly, and they kept Medvedev on his heels.
After stealing the early break in the second set, Federer kept marching on with some of his vintage drop shots and a stunning half-volley which turned into a winner.
The Swiss got a double break at 4-2 and served the match comfortably to defeat Medvedev 6-4, 6-2. It was one of the most dominating performances by the 20-time Slam champion in recent times, as he hit 22 winners to just eight unforced errors.
Of course, Medvedev could have done better; he should have taken the half chances that Federer offered, especially in the first set when he was serving at 5-4 and 0-40 down. The failure to capitalize on his opportunities made Medvedev lose his morale and eventually the match.
Federer will now face Kevin Anderson for a place in the semi-finals. Memories of his Wimbledon 2018 loss to Anderson would still be fresh in Federer's mind, and he'd want to avenge that defeat on the hardcourts of Miami.