Second serves win it for Medvedev

After losing the first set, Daniil Medvedev changed his approach midway through the second, going for broke with pretty much every shot, particularly on second serve, to beat Novak Djokovic in their semi-final match at the Cincinnati Masters on Satur
After losing the first set, Daniil Medvedev changed his approach midway through the second, going for broke with pretty much every shot, particularly on second serve, to beat Novak Djokovic in their semi-final match at the Cincinnati Masters on Saturday.PHOTO: ASSOCIATED PRESS

CINCINNATI • Novak Djokovic acknowledged that he had rarely faced the sort of barrage a resilient Daniil Medvedev used so effectively in a 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 Cincinnati Masters semi-final win on Saturday.

After losing the first set, Medvedev changed his approach midway through the second, the Russian going for broke with pretty much every shot, particularly on second serve.

The complexion of the match changed in a heartbeat as Medvedev overpowered the previously dominant Djokovic.

"I did not experience this too many times in my career that someone goes so big on second serves and just serves two first serves basically for an extended period of time," the Serb told reporters.

"When someone serves a 128 miles-per-hour (206 kmh) second serve and doesn't make too many double faults and goes for every shot, you just have to put your hat down and congratulate him."

Medvedev explained why he had switched tactics.

"I was so tired in the first set and playing Novak, I thought I'm not going to be able to keep the intensity," the world No. 8 said.

"Then there was one momentum change in the second and I just started playing unbelievable."

Medvedev added it was par for the course to go for broke on his second serve when trailing in a match.

"I do it all the time when my second serve doesn't work," he said.

"Novak, he was destroying me on the second serve so at one moment, at three-all, love-30, I'm like 'okay, what's the matter'."

He reeled off four successive points, including an ace on second serve, to hold and then broke Djokovic in the next game by ripping a winner down the line to seize the initiative.

Medvedev, who also beat Djokovic in April at Monte Carlo, will play Belgian David Goffin in the final this morning (Singapore time).

The 16th seeded Goffin beat France's Richard Gasquet 6-3, 6-4 in the other semi-final.

In the women' semis, a resurgent Svetlana Kuznetsova denied Ashleigh Barty a chance to reclaim the world No. 1 ranking as the Russian thrashed the Australian 6-2, 6-4.

Barty could have re-taken the top ranking she lost last week to Japan's Naomi Osaka had she reached the final.

Kuznetsova, a two-time Grand Slam champion who has been hindered lately by injury, will take on American Madison Keys in the final this morning.

Keys, the 2017 US Open runner-up, defeated compatriot Sofia Kenin 7-5, 6-4.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 19, 2019, with the headline 'Second serves win it for Medvedev'. Print Edition | Subscribe