ATP Tour wrap: Top four seeds win through to blockbuster Cincinnati semis

IT might not be the ‘Big Three’, but the next generation of ATP Tour stars were able to earn spots in the Western and Southern Open semi-finals after wins in their respective quarter finals overnight. The top four seeds in Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alexander Zverev and Andrey Rublev all won in their respective matches to land in the final four of the ATP 1000 Masters tournament.

The most impressive of the lost was top seed Medvedev who completely dismantled seventh seed Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta. The Russian won 6-1 6-1 against the highest ranked opponent outside the top four left in the draw, continuing his blitz into the semi-finals. The quarter final lasted just 54 minutes, with Medvedev only dropping six points on serve the entire match, and winning almost half of his return points points, including 10 of 11 off Carreno Busta’s second serve, breaking five times from 11 chances and never facing a break point. It was a complete performance from Medvedev who avenged his loss to the Spaniard at Tokyo.

“That is why we like tennis, because it is made of many, many different small details,” Medvedev said post-match. “Different conditions, different balls. I played much better today than I did there [at the Tokyo Olympics]. I am really happy to win here and gain a small [bit of] revenge.

“I was feeling great during the match. In these conditions, you try to win the match as fast as possible, especially against Carreno Busta, who can catch fire at any moment and start getting you into long rallies. I tried to keep pushing him and I am really happy I managed to do it.”

Medvedev sets up an all-Russian affair with fourth seed Rublev, who had a tougher time against Benoit Paire, in the unseeded out-of-sorts Frenchman’s best run in a tournament of the past 18 months. Rublev still triumphed in three sets, but needed the full length to knock off Paire, winning 6-2 3-6 6-3 to advance through to the final four. He served 13 aces to nine and only served two double faults to eight, winning 84 per cent of his first serve points off a 59 per cent clip, and only being broken once, whilst breaking Paire three times in the match.

“It’s always tough to play against Benoit,” Rublev said post-match. “First of all, he’s really talented and he can play really great tennis. This week he was really pumped, he beat so many great players, top players, so I knew that he would go full force today.”

Meanwhile second seed Tsitsipas also needed a full three sets, eventually shaking off a determined Felix Auger-Aliassime in two hours and 12 minutes, winning 6-2 5-7 6-1. He served four less aces (6-10), but won 81 and 64 per cent of his first and second serve points compared to the young Canadian’s 69 and 33 per cent respectively. He also broke Auger-Aliassime four times to one in order to book a spot in the semi-finals. It did not come easy though, having a couple of match points in the second set, only to squander them.

“Tennis is a psychological game and things like this happen. It’s important to just stick to your roots and what you are doing best,” Tsitsipas said post-match. “It might not have been ideal in the second set, especially when I made so many opportunities and had such a good opportunity to close it a bit earlier. But with a lot of patience and just trying to find that opportunity in the third set, I was stepping in, I was really determined and I didn’t let go.”

The last seed to book a place in the final four was third seed Zverev who knocked off Norwegian eighth seed Casper Ruud, 6-1 6-3. The match lasted just under an hour, with Zverev winning 23 of 26 points off his first serve, which came with a 70 per cent efficiency. Ruud still managed to break the German once, but Zverev returned the favour five times from seven chances with great efficiency to clean up in the match and set his sights on Tsitsipas for a spot in the Cincinnati final.

“The matches are not going to get easier,” Zverev said post-match. “I think Stef is somebody who is in incredible form right now and he’s looking forward to playing this match as well because we’re right in front of the US Open. “We should be playing our best tennis, and I think it’s going to be entertaining for all of us.

“When you’re in the semi-finals of a Masters, you’re playing your best tennis. I just feel like when I’m playing at my best, I can compete and beat anybody. “But I think Stef feels the same way. “The better player will win tomorrow and I’m looking forward to that.”


[1] Daniil Medvedev (RUS) defeated [7] Pablo Carreno Busta (ESP) 6-1 6-1
[2] Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) defeated [12] Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN) 6-2 5-7 6-1
[3] Alexander Zvevev (GER) defeated [8] Casper Ruud (NOR) 6-1 6-3
[4] Andrey Rublev (RUS) defeated Benoit Paire (FRA) 6-2 3-6 6-3


Picture credit: ATP Tour

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