Missed 10 points! Pole Hurkac did not let Daniil Medvedev to become the 1st racket of the world again
Daniil Medvedev was 10 points short of the world No. 1 ATP ranking. The Polish Hubert Hurkacz beat the Russian in the quarterfinals of the Miami Masters and did not allow him to become the world No. 1 again.
At the men’s Masters in Miami on Thursday, the quarterfinals were wrapped up. The day before, high seeded German Alexander Zverev (3) and Yannick Sinner (9) of Italy sensationally dropped out of the set. That means Kasper Ruud (Norway, 6) and Francisco Cerundolo (Argentina) were the semifinalists at the bottom of the table. On Friday, the semifinalists were determined in the matches between Daniil Medvedev (Russia, 1) – Hubert Hurkacz (Poland, 8) and Carlos Alcaraz (Spain, 14) – Miomir Kecmanovic (Serbia).
Medvedev reached the quarterfinals, repeating his best result of last year at this tournament. Back then Medvedev lost a semifinal bout to Spanish player Roberto Bautista Agut. This time the two could meet again in the fourth round. But it was not to be. A round before that the Spaniard was knocked out by Jenson Brooksby of the USA. It was with Brooksby that Daniel met his opponent for the quarterfinals. It took the Russian a long time to find the key to the American’s uncomfortable style of play. Medvedev was trailing 3-5 but then he broke serve and it paid off for him as he took 10 out of 11 games and then won 7-5, 6-1.
Daniel’s opponent for the quarterfinals was Hubert Hurkacz. The Pole surprised many people exactly one year ago, when at Miami 2021, being seeded only number 26, he knocked out of the net more ranked opponents Denis Shapovalov (6), Milos Raonic (12), Stefanos Tsitsipas (2), Andrey Rublev (4), Yannick Sinner (21) and won his biggest title of his career so far. “At his core, the Pole is a very good player. He has a good backhand, and for his height he moves very well. There’s a reason he won the tournament in Miami last year. But there’s nothing particularly inconvenient for Medvedev in his game, but a player like that can be dangerous for everyone,” Boris Sobkin, the Merited Coach of Russia, said in an interview with “Championship”.
Indeed, Hurkac is dangerous for Medvedev if only because he unexpectedly beat the Russian in their first head-to-head match. Daniil led 2-1 in sets in the fourth round of Wimbledon 2021, but the match was interrupted by rain. Medvedev was unable to play the next day and dropped the Pole to the quarterfinals, 2-3 in sets. However, Medvedev played his last two matches in the quarterfinals of the Toronto Masters and in the group stage of the ATP-2021 Finals in Turin.
In addition to the principal confrontation with Hurkacz himself, there was another important moment in the Miami-2022 quarterfinals that put some pressure on Medvedev. The point was that the Russian was close to the world number one ranking, which he had lost on the Masters in Indian Wells, and if he beat Hurkacs and reached the Miami semi-finals, he would reclaim his world ranking. However, Hurkacz also needed to defend last year’s championship points in Miami to stay in the top 10. “Medvedev always plays tough matches against Hurkacz. The Pole took the Masters in Miami last year. He’s pretty confident playing on this surface, the stadium, in this climate. With each match Hurkacz’s confidence grows. It will not be an easy match for Daniel for sure. But Hurkac will also have to defend his points. He needs to win the tournament to hold on to 10th place. That’s how vicious tennis can be at times. It will probably be psychologically more difficult for Hurkac than for Medvedev to defend his points,” former top-10 tennis player Andrey Chesnokov said in an interview with “Championship”.
At the beginning of the match Hurkac stunned the opponent with successful actions on serve, and on reception he easily coped with the combinations of the Russian and quickly led 3-0. With the score 4:1 the Pole had a hidden set-ball, but from this moment on Daniel “switched on”. He saved his game, then got to the first break-points, but failed to use them – 5:2. On his next serve Medvedev scored from a double set-ball, finally broke his serve to bring the game to a tie-break. Daniil saved two more sets, but he failed to reach the fifth set, 6-7 (7-9) in 1 hour and 5 minutes.
Daniel continued to have problems in the second set. In the first game he got back from two break points. And on the crossover, when the score was 2-1, he complained about the quality of balls directly to the TV camera. The outburst of emotions did not help him. The next game on the Russian serve was a fierce struggle. Medvedev saved five break points and on the sixth one he could not handle his opponent and allowed him to lead by a break, 2-3. At the next break the Russian called the doctor and complained of poor health. Perhaps the problem was the heat and high humidity. In such conditions, Daniel often begins to suffocate. After he was given a pill, play continued. Khurkac held his serve and brought the match to victory – 7:6, 6:3 in 2 hours and 2 minutes of play.
That is how Daniil Medvedev lost for the second time in his career to Hubert Hurkacz. And this defeat did not allow the Russian to overtake Novak Djokovic in the ATP rankings and become the first racket of the world again. Medvedev will be just 10 points behind the Serb next Monday. Hurkac will continue his title defense in Miami.