Tired Medvedev yields to Dimitrov

Fatigue catches up with US Open champion as he crashes out in Indian Wells fourth round

LOS ANGELES • US Open champion Daniil Medvedev has not had a break, and his exhaustion showed after he crashed out of the Indian Wells Masters on Wednesday, falling in stunning fashion in the fourth round to 23rd seed Grigor Dimitrov 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.

Medvedev, who won his first Grand Slam title last month at Flushing Meadows, had not lost a set heading into the fourth round but dropped eight straight games against Dimitrov en route to a stunning early exit for the top seed.

The world No. 2 did not take a break after his emotional US Open win and said that his busy schedule may have finally caught up to him.

"I did feel exhausted in this tournament. Now I can say it. I couldn't say it before my matches. There are a few physical things that have come up," said the Russian, who is hoping to eventually replace Novak Djokovic as No. 1 in the world.

Medvedev won the first set, was up 4-1 in the second and appeared to be cruising to another easy victory when the wheels came off - his unforced errors mounting and service game falling flat.

In total, he also made six double faults and had his serve broken six times in the 2hr 15min match in the main stadium.

He had no answers for the way Dimitrov was playing and predicted the Bulgarian would likely go on to capture the title.

"If he plays like this, like the way he played me from 4-1, then he is going to win the tournament," he said. "He played the second half of the match better than anyone did against me at the US Open. It is not like I gave him the match."

The match turned in the sixth game of the second set as Dimitrov broke Medvedev's serve for the second time in the set to cut the lead to 4-2. He held serve in the next game and then broke the Russian twice more to take the set and set the tone for a dominant performance in the third.

Dimitrov closed out the match on the first match point when Medvedev blasted a forehand long.

"Been watching quite a bit of his matches," the world No. 28 said of Medvedev after beating his opponent for just the second time in five career meetings.

"I really wanted to play this match," the Bulgarian said. "What he has been able to accomplish this past year and a half is pretty amazing. I think it really pushes me also to do better."

He will face Polish eighth seed Hubert Hurkacz, who rolled over Russian Aslan Karatsev 6-1, 6-3 earlier on Wednesday, in the quarter-finals.

In other men's matches on Wednesday, Argentina's Diego Schwartzman defeated Casper Ruud of Norway 6-3, 6-3 to reach the last eight.

In the women's draw, two-winner Victoria Azarenka punched her ticket to the semi-finals with a straight-sets 6-4, 6-2 win over Jessica Pegula.

Azarenka, who is the lone player left in the women's and men's field to have won in Indian Wells, captured the title in 2012 and 2016.

The 32-year-old from Belarus needed just 94 minutes to end the run of American Pegula and reach the final four of this event for the fourth time in her career.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 15, 2021, with the headline 'Tired Medvedev yields to Dimitrov'. Subscribe