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By Richard Pagliaro | Thursday, March 30, 2023


Daniil Medvedev ended qualifier Christopher Eubanks' inspired run 6-3, 7-5, to advance to the Miami Open semifinals for the first time.

Photo credit: Getty

MIAMI—Charging net, Christopher Eubanks soared high for a smash in full flight, but didn't quite find the sweet spot.

Streaking left, Daniil Medvedev slapped whiplash backhand pass down the line.

Sinner: Love Alcaraz Rematch

Throughout today's Miami Open quarterfinal, Eubanks posed the right questions, but Medvedev delivered ruthless response.

A sharp Medvedev ended the American qualifier's inspired Cinderella run through the field, 6-3, 7-5, to advance to his maiden Miami Open semifinal.

"Not easy to play someone for the first time, because you don't know exactly their patterns," Medvedev said. "They might know just a bit more about you because they see you on TV. At the same time, that's what I try to bring, this consistency on court. It managed to work today.

"You know, tight, tough match, tight match with a lot of opportunities for both of us. I managed to be on top, and that's what I try to do every time, no matter if I know the opponent well or if I don't know him at all."

The Rotterdam champion scored his 22nd win in his last 23 matches raising his 2023 record to 27-3 on the season.

Continuing his quest for his first Masters 1000 title since 2021 Toronto, Medvedev will meet compatriot Karen Khachanov for a spot in Sunday's final.

On Grandstand, Khachanov stopped 2022 semifinalist Francisco Cerundolo 6-3, 6-2.

The 14th-seeded Khachanov, who snapped a 23-match losing streak vs. Top 10 opponents with his win over second-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas in the round of 16 on Grandstand, called the shots for much of this match.

Australian Open semifinalist Khachanov craked seven aces and dropped just six points on first serve improving to 13-5 on the season.

Playing to become the first qualifier to reach the Miami semifinals since Felix Auger-Aliassime in 2019, Eubanks, who spent some time during a 21-minute rain delay hanging with buddy Jamie Foxx behind the stadium court, showed he has the skills to play with the elite—and also has room for growth.

Playing pivotal points with more clarity and care, Medvedev saved five of six break points, while the Eubanks slice backhand, which can be a weapon especially against tall opponents, sometimes found the top of the tape at critical stages.

The 2021 US Open champion fought off five break points in a draining eight-minute service test. Medvedev stood tall finally fighting through to level the set after four games.

Meanwhile, Eubanks was backing serve with confidence banging an ace wide for a 3-2 lead after 25 minutes.

At 1:38 p.m. Nacho Forcadell announced rain suspended play and both players left the court while some die hard fans stayed in their seats under umbrellas.

During the 21-minute delay, Eubanks stretched and took shadow swings on the artificial turf behind the stadium within-the-stadium. Actor Jamie Foxx came over at one point and chatted with a loose Eubanks, who even trotted over to the Tennis Channel desk and fist-bumped Caroline Wozniacki.

Afterward, Eubanks said he's friendly with Foxx and shared the pair have played together.

"During the rain delay, just kept it pretty light. I tend to play better when I'm a bit more relaxed," Eubanks said. "I have tried to be serious and stressed out before. Those don't end well for me.

"I think seeing him get laugh is probably good to relax me. It's cool he was able to come in, wanted to support me. He's followed my progress over the past couple of years, and it was really, really cool to see him. That's the first time he's actually been able to see me play live. We have played tennis together, played pickleball together, but for him to see me compete live is cool. Yeah, pretty special for him to make the trip."

Eubanks was relaxed, but Medvedev was all business.

After the rain, Medvedev took a more assertive return stance on Eubanks' second serve and that different look—and good fortune—helped him turn it around. The Russian caught a break when his return crashed into net and crawled over as he gained his first break point. Medvedev cashed in immediately on a Eubanks error breaking for 4-3. That sparked a streak of five straight games as Medvedev seized control.

"He made some tactical adjustments. Started stepping on my second serve I think is one of the bigger things," Eubanks said. "Obviously I have been able to watch Daniil for years and watched tons of film even going into this match. I think that was one thing I didn't really prepare for.

"I don't mind my second serve. I like my kick second serve. He's 6'7" with one of the best backhands in the world, so it makes you second-guess. When I saw his tactical adjustment, I began to second-guess a little bit."

The lanky Eubanks did the right things attacking net on occasion and trying to use the short slice to make the 6'6" Medvedev bend for ankle-high balls. But Medvedev's swarming consistency and greater shot-tolerance helped him blow the set open. Eubanks bricked a forehand volley and put a slice backhand into net to gift a second straight break and end the set.

Eubanks committed 17 unforced errors—seven more than Medvedev in the 44-minute opener.

A central story of this quarterfinal was Medvedev cashed in on his opportunities.

The fourth seed broke for a 4-2 second-set lead, but Eubanks wasn't through. He broke right back and stayed in step all the way until the final game.

"I feel like during the match I was playing better and better, and if not, one bad game on my serve," Medvedev said. "Could have done it easier in the second set, but yeah, generally tough match. If he plays like this, he's very dangerous. Yeah, tennis is about consistency, so let's see how he continues this good run here in next tournaments."

Staring down two match points, Eubanks used a drop volley and a fine stretch volley to save both match points.

The third match point presented Eubanks with a relatively routine mid-court forehand, but he whacked it wide as Medveved was through in 90 minutes. 


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