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PREVIEW: Cincinnati Open – Selected Quarterfinals

Daniil Medvedev has vowed that he will continue to confront people who “mock” him after he was called a “loser”. The Russian star will take on Taylor Fritz in the Cincinnati Open quarterfinals.

Danil Medvedev

Daniil Medvedev has vowed that he will continue to confront people who “mock” him after he was called a “loser”. The Russian star will take on Taylor Fritz in the Cincinnati Open quarterfinals.

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

2022 ATP Tour
Masters 1000
Cincinnati Open
Lindner Family Tennis Centre (Outdoor Hardcourt)
Selected Quarterfinals- 19th August

Danil Medvedev (1) (8/15) vs Taylor Fritz (11) (6/4)

Danil Medvedev has had one of the most confusing seasons in recent tennis history. The reigning US Open champion has reclaimed his World No.1 ranking this year. But he only just won his maiden 2022 title at the ATP 250 Los Cabos Open.

It has been a season punctuated by disappointment- which is strange to say for a World No.1. It obviously started with his psychological disintegration in the Aussie Open final.

I think everything would have been different had he just closed out that match against Nadal. But now the entire tennis community knows about the underlying fragility in Medvedev’s makeup. Nonetheless, he has still picked up plenty of decent results this year. But this will be just his 2nd Masters 1000 quarterfinal of the campaign.

He lost to Nick Kyrgios in the Montreal first-round and he needed some positivity this week ahead of his US Open title defence. His opening win was a scrappy affair against van de Zandschulp. But he looked more composed against Shapovalov, hitting that flat backhand with much more authority.

He won his maiden Masters 1000 title here in 2019 and he now holds a 13-4 career record in Cincinnati.

This has been a true breakthrough campaign for 24-year-old American Taylor Fritz. He won titles at Indian Wells and Eastbourne, rising to number 12 in the world rankings. His victory at Indian Wells showcased his ability to compete in illustrious company (he soundly beat Rafa in the final).

He then pushed Rafa to five sets in an epic Wimbledon quarterfinal. And he has looked magnificent on these quick Cincinnati surfaces. He took down clay-court specialist Sebastian Baez in a comfy first-round victory.

That set up a mouth-watering encounter against the mercurial Nick Kyrgios. And Fritz bulldozed his way past the in-form Aussie, hitting 16 aces in a brutal display. And he came back from a set down against last year’s beaten finalist Andrey Rublev in a true show of resilience.

He is serving well and seems perfectly suited to the pace of the courts.

The Verdict: Fritz to win at 6/4- This will be the first career meeting between these two. I just have a feeling that Fritz is the one playing the more dominant tennis.

Medvedev hasn’t looked at his best this week while Fritz has looked supreme. His demolition of Kyrgios leads me to believe that he could be a dark horse contender for this year’s US Open crown.

Stefanos Tsitsipas (4) vs John Isner

With Nadal and Djokovic dominating the Slams this year, it’s been easy to overlook the amazing consistency of Stefanos Tsitsipas. He started the year with another deep run in a Grand Slam (falling at the semi-final stage at the Aussie Open).

In fact, he has reached the semi-final or better on seven occasions this year (winning titles in Monte-Carlo and Rotterdam).

He was particularly brilliant on clay, reaching two Masters 1000 finals. All that being said, he never came into this year’s Cincinnati Open in particularly good form. He lost an epic 3rd round Wimbledon clash against Kyrgios before a disastrous first-round defeat to Jack Draper in Montreal.

But the metronomic Greek has shrugged off that dip in form and is once again looking like a realistic Grand Slam candidate. He pulverized both Filip Krajinovic and Diego Schwartzman this week. He won an astonishing 92% of his first-serve points in his match against Krajinovic.

Tsitsipas has turned a very effective serve into a devastating weapon over the past two years (little wonder he is a two-time semi-finalist on these lightning-fast courts). Could he make it three Cincinnati semi-finals with victory over American behemoth John Isner?

In stark contrast to the Greek, 37-year-old John Isner has made heavy weather of all three matches thus far.

Every match has gone the distance, including his last outing against compatriot Seb Korda. But the American’s never-say-die attitude (and never-say-die serve) have helped him sneak home in these tight matches. With his unerring delivery, Isner is always going to be a factor on these surfaces.

A beaten finalist here in 2013 (I mistakenly referred to him as the champion the other day), Isner has amazing durability on North-American hardcourts. 19 of his 30 tour finals have been played on North-American hardcourts. This included four appearances in Masters 1000 finals (the most recent of which was a 2019 Miami Open final defeat to Roger Federer).

His three victories this week have taken his 2022 win-loss record to an even 8-8. But Isner isn’t the sort of animal who subscribes to traditional notions of form. He can beat anyone at any time with that juggernaut of a serve.

The Verdict: Tsitsipas to win in three- This should be a fascinating clash. Tsitsipas leads the head-to-head with Isner 4-2. Crucially, the Greek has won their last four meetings. He also won their only ever meeting on a North American hardcourt, winning in two tight sets in this very event in 2020.

As with any match involving Isner, you can expect some tiebreaks and a generally tight encounter. But I think the Greek could grind out the win after an exhausting week for the 37-year-old American.

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