By Richard Pagliaro | @Tennis_Now | Wednesday, September 6, 2023
NEW YORK—Surviving a physical test, Daniil Medvedev showed heart and grit reaching his fourth US Open semifinal.
Medvedev aims to go full Spinal Tap if he gets a shot at reigning champion Carlos Alcaraz in the semifinals.
The top-seeded Alcaraz faces Olympic gold-medal champion Alexander Zverev in tonight’s quarterfinal. If Alcaraz prevails he will meet Medvedev in a rematch of the Indian Wells final.
The 2021 US Open champion said he’ll have to crank his level up to 11 to dethrone defending champion Alcaraz should they meet on Friday.
“It needs to be 11 out of 10 because yeah, that’s how Carlos is, very strong,” Medvedev said after his 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 quarterfinal conquest of buddy Andrey Rublev. “Even here I think he lost one set but I watch some matches, sometimes on breakpoints he runs for the passing shots. Incredible stuff. So let’s see tonight…
“I’m someone who fights a lot, so I want to try to be better, and I need to be 11 out of 10 to try to beat him.”
The third-seeded Medvedev has yet to beat Alcaraz on a hard court. Alcaraz has won two of their three meetings, scoring a 6-3, 6-2 sweep in the Indian Wells final last March then dispatching the Russian 3, 3 and 3 in the Wimbledon semifinals.
The lack of a discernible weakness is Alcaraz’s greatest strength, says Medvedev.
While several champions, including Hall of Famer John McEnroe, point to Alcaraz’s blinding speed as a key to his success, Medvedev points to two essential elements to the Spanish superstar’s success.
1. Alcaraz has an answer from everywhere on the court because he owns every shot.
2. Alcaraz can laser his forehand to speeds even Medvedev struggles to defend.
For those reasons, Medvedev says he must serve his best to beat Alcaraz.
“I would say what makes him that difficult is just that he has every shot,” Medvedev said of Alcaraz. “He has extra power to other players. So it’s true many players probably I would go with 97%, it’s tough for them to hit the ball through me, like I’m always there, always running, always trying to get it back.
“He can do it just because he has this power, we see it 100 mile forehand winner and stuff like this. Some players, even if we try, we cannot do it.
“So that’s one thing he’s good from forehand, backhand, he can slice, dropshot. So he has every shot in the game. But again, tennis, you can always beat…