Daniil Medvedev: ‘Beating Novak Djokovic in Cincinnati was my most notable..’

Daniil Medvedev made a name for himself in the summer of 2019, winning 20 out of 23 matches and reaching finals in Washington, Montreal, Cincinnati and the US Open. Nick Kyrgios and Rafael Nadal defeated Daniil in the title matches in Washington and Montreal, and the Russian changed that in Cincinnati, where he claimed the first Masters 1000 title. In the semis, Daniil dethroned Novak Djokovic 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 in an hour and 42 minutes, producing an incredible comeback and labeling it as his most significant Masters 1000 victory. The defending champion controlled the pace in the opening set before the Russian took charge, going for all-or-nothing shots that gave him the advantage on the court, firing 37 winners and 21 unforced errors to leave Novak behind. It was a different dimension of Daniil’s tennis in the second part of the encounter, stepping in and taking more riskier strokes to take momentum away from Djokovic.

Medvedev had to play against only two break chances, suffering that break in set number one and looking more energetic and reliable in his games after fending off a crucial break point at 2-2 in set number two. Novak lost steam at that moment, unable to draw mistakes from the inspired rival or extend the rallies to the safe ground above the ninth shot, where he had a clear advantage. Both players won 75 points, and Daniil forged the edge after converting all three break chances, playing mighty impressive tennis in the last 50 minutes or so to take a big title out of Novak’s hands. Medvedev had more service winners, creating the gap in the shortest range up to four strokes and winning the same number of points as Novak in the mid-range exchanges from five to eight shots. The Serb controlled the pace in the opening set with well-measured strokes, sailing through his games and delivering a break in game six after an incredible defense that sent him 4-2 up.

Daniil Medvedev defeated Novak Djokovic in three sets in Cincinnati 2019.

Djokovic wrapped up the set with a hold at 15 in game nine, hoping for more of the same in set number two. The defending champion was the better player on the court in the first six games, dropping one point in the first three service games and creating a break chance at 2-2 that could have pushed him closer to the finish line. Staying calm, Daniil saved it with a service winner and blasted a backhand return winner at 4-3 to go in front. In game nine, the Russian landed a forehand down the line winner to wrap up the set and bring the decider. He broke Novak at 15 in game three after a loose backhand from the Serb and held at 30 with a service winner to confirm the advantage. Returning at 5-3, Daniil landed a return winner to seal the deal and stay on the course for the first Masters 1000 crown.

“Of course, there are many notable Masters 1000 wins, but I would pick the one over Novak Djokovic in Cincinnati 2019. It allowed me to go advance into the final and win the tournament. I lost the first set, and I was crazy tired after so many matches in the last couple of weeks. I managed to step up and beat him in a good way. I felt like that was maybe one of the best two sets I have ever played, especially at that time. That was a really great match,” Daniil Medvedev said.