Monte Carlo Masters 2019: Daniil Medvedev continues his dominance over Stefanos Tsitsipas
With each passing day, the Monte Carlo Masters is showing its viewers what claycourt tennis is all about and how different and unpredictable it is from the rest of the surfaces on tour. Today was more of the same as the wind started to breeze through both the courts on a sunny Thursday afternoon, where the first match of the day began between Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Medvedev ended up beating Tsitsipas 6-2, 1-6, 6-4 to win just his fifth career match on clay, but not before he endured a topsy-turvy set of events that thoroughly entertained the viewers.
The scoreline might seem fairly humdrum from the outside, but the quality of the tennis from both players was exceptional. In a way, it was reminiscent of a Roger Federer vs Novak Djokovic encounter, where Federer drives the fans into a frenzy with his outstanding shot-making but Djokovic silently takes all the big points with his steadiness, and eventually the match.
The rivalry between Medvedev and Tsitsipas will surely be one of the rivalries worth debating about in the years to come, and the latest installment of it was a memorable affair.
Right from the first game onwards both the players went neck-to-neck with some amazing groundstrokes. Tsitsipas tried to find extreme angles for winners whereas Medvedev waited patiently for Tsitsipas to make errors.
Tsitsipas ended up trying to do too much in the first set and lost his way, as the Russian.wrapped it up 6-2. The swift court coverage of Medvedev and his defensive capabilities were worth applauding, and they were starkly evident throughout the set.
There were 16 unforced errors from Tsitsipas in the first set whereas Medvedev committed just four. Something was clearly askew in Tsitsipas' approach to the match, and he took a break after the set - a break that helped greatly.
In the second set Tsitsipas was able to control his shots a lot better than he did in the first set, which provided little room for Medvedev to strike through. The Russian's first serve percentage was a measly 22% in the second set, and he was also unable to cope with the sudden changes in the weather as the wind started to seriously affect the play.
Medvedev could win just two points on his first serve, in sharp contrast to Tsitsipas who won a staggering 93% of first serve points in the second set. The Greek comfortably won the set 6-1, and changed the tide of the match in his favor.
One set apiece as they headed into the decider third set, it was once again a neck-to-neck battle between the two young prodigies. Tsitsipas got a break at 1-1 in the third, but Medvedev was quick to respond with a break back.
Even in the third set, Medvedev managed to land just 12 out of 28 first serves for an abysmal percentage of 43. But he somehow managed to hold on to his serve, extending the match into overtime.
Serving at 4-5 in the third set, Tsitsipas was under a lot of pressure. And the defense of Medvedev once again proved crucial as he broke Tsitsipas by forcing him to cough up a bunch of errors.
Medvedev now has four wins out of four matches against Tsitsipas, extending his dominance over the young Greek star.
Barring the first serve, Medvedev was exceptional in every other aspect of his game. Tsitsipas also played really well, and the quality of their shot-making, especially in the longer rallies, made for brilliant viewing.
With this victory, Medvedev is now into the quarterfinals of the tournament where he will face World No. 1 Novak Djokovic.