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By Richard Pagliaro | Saturday, November 7, 2020

 
Daniil Medvedev

No. 3-seeded Daniil Medvedev topped Milos Raonic 6-4, 7-6(4) to advance to his first final of the season at the Rolex Paris Masters.

Photo credit: Rolex Paris Masters

Daniil Medvedev was aware of the risks facing seismic-serving Milos Raonic—and reaped the rewards for his prowess on pressure points.

Medvedev saved six of seven break points topping Raonic 6-4, 7-6(4) to reach his first final in 13 months at the Rolex Paris Masters.

More: Sharypova Details Zverev Abuse




In September, Medvedev flamed out in the French Open first round—his fourth career Roland Garros opening-round exit.

Playing beneath the roof of the Accor Arena this week, Medvedev has found his footing in Paris charging into his fourth career Masters 1000 final.

"Something is working well here in Paris," Medvedev said. "Maybe I like the balls, maybe the court. But I was working hard, you know, after clay season, before clay season. So I know that at one moment if you practice well, you do your job, at one moment the sensation is going to come back.

"This moment came here in Paris, which is really good because that's my first final."

Tennis Express

The third-seeded Russian will face fourth-seeded Alexander Zverev in tomorrow's final. 

US Open finalist Zverev zapped 13 aces toppling top-seeded Rafael Nadal 6-4, 7-5 in today's second semifinal.

A day after Raonic fired 25 aces in a dramatic quarterfinal win over Frenchman Ugo Humbert, Medvedev used his deep court positioning on return and wide wingspan to defuse the Canadian's seconds serve. Medvedev won 15 of 21 points played on the Canadian's second serve.

“When you play against Milos, you are always at risk because one time he breaks you, it is very tough to break him back,” Medvedev said. “I knew I had to stay focused. The first set was amazing, I had zero break points to save. I managed to break him in a good way.

"The second set was much tighter. I had two games where I had to save breaks points, tough points. I managed to break him and I lost my serve. It was shaky here and there, but I am really happy to be through to the final.”

The 10th-seeded Raonic credited the Russian's baseline aggression and break-point presence as keys to the match.

"I think in some key moments he found a way to be a bit more the aggressor. He was dictating a bit more," Raonic said. "I was trying to change the pace up. But, you know, maybe I started to find the rhythm of that a little bit too late. I think he was a lot more efficient at creating his opportunities.

"I don't know what the numbers are on break points converted. I think each time he had one or at least most of the time he was converting, and I let a few go in that first game. I let a few go before I managed to finally get the break in that last one. Yeah, just little things like that that make a big difference."

Raonic surrendered serve just once and fought off two match points edging Frenchman Ugo Humbert 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 in yesterday’s quarterfinals.

Today, Medvedev made his move in the fifth game gaining triple break point. Raonic saved the first with an ace but sent a diagonal forehand beyond the baseline as the Russian broke for a 3-2 lead 18 minutes into the match.

Medvedev made the single break stand.

The world No. 5 dropped just four points in his first five service games, winning 16 of 17 first-serve points in the opening set. Medvedev used the surprise serve-and-volley, skimming his forehand volley off the top of the tape, to serve out the 38-minute opening set.




A challenge for Raonic in this match-up is Medvedev’s two-handed backhand is one of the best in the game, while the Canadian’s backhand is his least imposing shot. Medvedev repeatedly targeted Raonic's backhand wing throughout the match.

The 24-year-old Medvedev improved to 22-10 on the season. Of course, Medvedev has extensive experience against  Zverev. 

The 23-year-old German has won five of six meetings with the lanky Russian, but Medvedev's lone win was a 6-4, 6-1 triumph in the Shanghai final last October, which was his last title.

"But of course experience is a good key," Medvedev said. "The first Masters final I lost actually very easy to Rafa, and then I won two next ones because, yeah, when you step out for your first Masters 1000 final, you are really tight, your hands are shaking a little bit because you think, okay, maybe that's my last opportunity to be in the final of a Masters 1000.

"Then second, third time, the more you get them, the more it becomes easier to handle these emotions. So hopefully this experience can help me tomorrow." 

 

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