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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Friday August 11, 2023

Alex De Minaur

Alex de Minaur finished off Daniil Medvedev to reach his first Masters 1000 semifinal on Friday in Toronto.

Photo Source: Getty

If masterful footwork and blazing speed on a tennis court is your thing, then Saturday’s semifinal between Alex de Minaur and Alejandro Davidovich Fokina is for you.

Tennis Express

The pair or unseeded talents have both knocked off Top 5 talents en route to their first Masters semifinal on hard court, with Australia’s De Minaur finishing off No.2-seeded Daniil Medvedev, 7-6(7), 7-5 on Friday, while Davidovich Fokina toppled No.3 seed Casper Ruud on Thursday (7-6(4), 4-6, 7-6(4)), before toppling American Mackenzie McDonald 6-4 6-2 on Friday at the National Bank Open.

Both are surprise semifinalists, but 18th-ranked De Minaur’s victory, based on his previous record at Masters 1000 events, comes as a bigger surprise.

The 24-year-old Aussie went 4-17 against the Top 10 from 2020 to 2022, but this year he has turned the corner against the ATP’s elite, winning six of ten against the Top 10.

The Aussie had lost his first ten Masters 1000 quarterfinals before nudging past 8th-seeded Taylor Fritz on Friday. He also got past one of the most formidable hard court forces on tour - Medvedev entered the match with a 31-3 record and four titles on the surface.

He improves to 2-4 lifetime against Medvedev, with wins in each of the pair’s last two meetings (also Paris 2022).

“It’s been a great week for me so far,” De Minaur said. “I think I played the right way today, and I think having played him at the end of last year in Paris really gave me the confidence. I knew I’d have genuine chances, I just needed to play the right way.”

Davidovich Fokina, ranked 37th but slated to go to at least 23 in next week's rankings, is into his second Masters semifinal, and his first on a hard court.

The Spaniard reached the quarterfinals at Indian Wells this year, and says it is no mistake that he has now progressed further in a big hard court tournament.

“I think I'm playing better now than Indian Wells,” he said. “I am more relaxed off the court. And I think that's the key that gives me a lot of power when I step on court. Then, you know, I'm very calm when I'm playing.

“And I don't care about to lose or win. Just to enjoy and to play and to win every point.”

Both De Minaur and Davidovich Fokina possess a rare breed of athleticism and explosiveness in their games. Two of the best movers on tour, they have to be creative when it comes to matching up against the big hitters that inhabit the Top 10.

De Minaur is known for his fiesty never-say-die attitude and blazing speed.

Davidovich's calling card is creativity and athleticism, even if he is still searching for ways to parlay his extraordinary skills into consistent wins on tour.

It will be a treat to see them angle for a spot in a prestigious final on Sunday, and a reminder that many different types of players survive – and thrive – on today’s ATP Tour.


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