NEW YORK (Reuters) - Daniil Medvedev’s bid for a maiden Grand Slam title gathered pace on Monday as the Russian stormed into the U.S. Open quarter-finals with a dominant 6-4 6-1 6-0 win over a listless Frances Tiafoe.
Third seed Medvedev, who lost an epic five-setter to Rafa Nadal in last year’s final, barely broke sweat in the evening match at Arthur Ashe Stadium as American Tiafoe’s resistance crumbled after going down a break in the second set.
With Roger Federer and Nadal missing, and top seed Novak Djokovic disqualified for hitting a ball into a line judge, Medvedev is now favoured by bookmakers to win in New York.
The only man in the last eight to have not dropped a set, his lone blip against Tiafoe came when broken at 5-2 serving for the first set.
“I think it was maybe my best match (of the tournament),” the 6-ft 6-in (1.98m) 24-year-old told ESPN.
“It’s always better to start the tournament a little bit rusty and then get better.”
Medvedev will battle 10th-seeded compatriot Andrey Rublev, a player he knows well from junior days, for a semi-final berth.
Rublev overhauled sixth seed Matteo Berrettini in four sets, reaching his second U.S. Open quarter-finals three years after breaking through in 2017 as a 19-year-old bolt from the blue.
Rublev, Medvedev and Karen Khachanov, who was seeded 11th and beaten in the third round, lead a strong Russian generation tipped to challenge for Grand Slam spoils in coming years.
Rublev said he and Medvedev were “crazy on court” when they played each other as children.
“Just throwing the rackets, complaining,” he told reporters.
“What I remember from him he was always one of the biggest fighters I’ve ever seen in my life.”
Medvedev said he would resort to lobbing the ball repeatedly at Rublev or other players to try to win.
“Until like maybe 12-years-old, maybe 10, it’s true maybe if something was going wrong, I was just doing lobs until I win the match,” he said.
“In Russia when there is tournaments (for) under-10s, you play up to four games, which is short, and I was managing to make these matches up to three hours.
“Russian mentality is not easy for tennis.”
Reporting by Ian Ransom in Melbourne; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman/Peter Rutherford
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