Let’s hear it for Daniil (Sofia) and Jo Willy (Montpellier), your Euro hard court champions of the week!
Actually, of course, these two 250 finals are all set for tomorrow and Medvedev probably doesn’t exactly have a free pass to his fourth ATP title (won his first three in 2018: Tokoyo, Winston-Salem and Sydney); and Tsonga still has to beat P-H H to win his seventeenth title, his first since 2017, a year in which he won four titles.
Medvedev’s opponent is the very competent Fucsovics.
My point: great to see some decent players like the young Russian and veteran Frenchman give these early season comps some solid character arguments.
I suspect they’ll both come through and claim some nice early season hardware.
In other words, we trust, generally, these two brands of tennis. Medvedev continues to propel his ascending stock. Go back and watch that AO R16 v Djokovic. He was killing the Serb. Djokovic looked practically rag-dolled in his approach to match baseline bullets with the 6’5″ Russian marvel. See his three 2018 titles. Medvedev — we spoke highly of him in AO, adding to the difficulty of Novak’s route to the final we argued — is a serious game, a threat on any hard court for sure.
Watching a bit of the Monfils v Medvedev brought back some thoughts on the Djokovic Medvedev AO tilt. The Russian is practically robotic in his baseline consistency. His BH looks as ugly as it is effective: he keeps coming, a virtual backboard as some would say.
The first thought then, watching Monfils lose wind and patience in these long-winded rallies, is to bring the Russian to net, move him from that BL comfort zone.
Here’s Federer getting by him in 2018 Shanghai, barely. We see Daniil coming to net on occasion, somewhat effective, but the advantage goes to Federer here with his more penetrating hard court attack from the BL and the net. But this is close. The Russian is no joke.
Staying at the BL looks more like this (this gets especially draining in the second set):
We didn’t get our Tsitsipas v Medvedev SF, but look at what Daniil did to the spoiler, Monfils. No video, but it’s draining. Long, patient points. Way too much for this less able Frenchman who was able to handle the Greek second seed. Not a surprise as Monfils can certainly put together some decent tennis here and there.
But a Tsitsipas v Medvedev would have been divine.
What’s more disappointing is what happened to the NUMBER ONE SEED in Sofia. Khachanov let us down. That is a disappointment.
Same with Pouille in Montpellier, that tournament’s number one seed.
Remember: what he did in Melbourne was a surprise. He had not been on the radar for over a year. But losing like that so early does not bode very well.
Great to see Jo-Willy marching to victory.
Yet another piece of that Djokovic draw we pointed-out. Tsonga motivated is great game to watch and often comes away with a win.
We’ll have a bit more to say after these finals.