With the final major of the season just a week away from Flushing Meadows, NY, it is safe to say no one is playing better tennis at the moment that Daniil Medvedev of Russia. Currently the fifth ranked player in the world, Medvedev has had a magical August as he reached the final of the 2019 Rogers Cup (the Canadian Open) and then won the Cincinnati Masters on Sunday for his first career ATP Masters 1000 Series title.
Medvedev, who was the ninth seed in Cincinnati, beat Kyle Edmund of Great Britain 6-2, 7-5 in the first round, Benoit Paire of France 7-6, 6-1 in the second round, Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany 6-2, 6-1 in the third round, and qualifier and fellow Russian countryman Andrey Rublev 6-2, 6-3 in the quarterfinals. However it is Medvedev’s semifinal win that deserves the highest praise. That is because he beat 16-time major champion and world number one Novak Djokovic of Serbia 3-6, 6-3, 6-3. It was only Djokovic’s seventh loss all season long, to go along with his 38 victories and three titles.
Meanwhile, the win in Cincinnati was Medvedev’s second ATP men’s singles win in 2019. He previously won the 2019 Sofia Open in Bulgaria by beating Marton Fucsovics of Hungary 6-4, 6-3 in the final.
Medvedev’s other ATP titles came in 2018. He beat Alex de Minaur of Australia at the Sydney International (major tuneup to the Australian Open) 1-6, 6-4, 7-5 in the final, Steve Johnson of Orange, CA 6-4, 6-4 in the final of the Winston-Salem Open in North Carolina last August and then Kei Nishikori of Japan 6-2, 6-4 in Nishikori’s home tournament, the Japan Open.
But before we declare Medvedev a contender to win the 2019 United States Open, one must realize a few things. Winning tennis tournaments on the ATP Tour is significantly different than winning majors. That is because the five career tournaments Medvedev has won are best of three matches, while the majors are best of five. Medvedev has never reached the quarterfinals of a single grand slam event,with his best result a fourth round finish at the 2019 Australian Open.
Medvedev also got absolutely hammered by Rafael Nadal of Spain in the final of the Rogers Cup in Montreal earlier this month. Nadal beat Medvedev 6-3, 6-0. In order to win a grand slam men’s singles title, it is likely a player will have to beat two of the big three players in the world (Djokovic, Nadal and Roger Federer of Switzerland) and it is unlikely at this time that Medvedev has what it takes to pull that off.