Daniil Medvedev came into this first round robin match against Stefanos Tsitsipas with a perfect 5-0 record against the 21 year old.
Tsitsipas is the youngest competitor in London this year but put on one of the most mature performances on debut but was helped out by a Russian who seemed to rely on previous success to see him through.
Following their meeting in Shanghai, Stefanos described his game as boring to play against. How did the effective style of Medvedev become problematic and for only the second time in 78 matches this year how did he not create a break point?
That’s one word I haven’t used this year to describe Daniil Medvedev, disappointing.
I felt he relied on previous success against Stefanos to see him through this year. I was bit confused by his approach to the match especially after you could see Stefanos’ intentions early on.
What surprised me more than anything was that there wasn’t a change during the match at all despite it not working for him. It became one of those matches where at 30-30 on Stefanos’ service games you switched off because nothing was coming from the racket of Daniil.
Deep returning = serve and volley
We know Stefanos does like a serve and volley, we have seen it in soo many high pressure situations over the course of the year and he pulls it off extremely but was helped out by Daniil.
Daniil does return the ball deep but in the first set his was averaging a return position of 4.5-5 metres behind the baseline. It didn’t set him up to be competitive.
The numbers were perfect for the Greek;
First serve points won (first set) – 22/23
First serve points won (second set) – 17/21
He dropped 5 points out of 44 behind his first serve in the match.
I said he likes serve and volley and is good at the net. 22/26 points won at the net from Stefanos. He won almost 20% off the entire points in the match at the net.
Groundstroke to groundstroke
Backhand to backhand rallies with Daniil could go on all day, he is very stubborn off the two hander and doesn’t give much away.
Forehand to forehand rallies is where you would have a better chance. Daniil has one of the most impressive forehands in the business, once he is able to step up into the shot it isn’t coming back but you have to catch him earlier.
Stefanos hit his forehand well during the match finding his spots with a mixture of a flat shot or topspin but when momentum in the rally looked like shifting he changed the direction of the rally.
We saw him pick off quite a few winners but what I liked was how he put a defensive situation into an attacking one going back behind Daniil.
You can see Daniil anticipating the forehand cross court but Stefanos pulls it back behind him and from there orchestrated the winning point.
This was a key moment in the match. 4-4 40-30 to Daniil but this was the game that Stefanos broke as he went onto win 7-6 6-4.
Overall it was very good and smart from Stefanos who has come on so well this year. The good thing about this competition is that it’s not over yet. Daniil will be up against Rafa on Wednesday afternoon which is a ‘must win’ match for both to keep their hopes in London alive.