‘He should be EMBARRASSED’: Madcap Medvedev ripped for botched underarm serve on match point in French Open defeat (VIDEO)
Appearing in a first-ever quarter-final at Roland-Garros, Medvedev met his match against a fired-up Tsitsipas – a man with whom he has endured a tetchy relationship since the pair emerged on the scene as two of the biggest names in the ‘Next Gen’ tennis talent pool.
Far the more comfortable than his rival on clay, Tsitsipas booked his semi-final spot with a 6-3 7-6 (7-3) 7-5 win in the late-night session in front of empty stands on Court Philippe-Chatrier in the French capital on Tuesday.
Despite a dominant first set from his Greek rival, Medvedev had his moments and blew two set points in the second set and also secured a break of serve to go 3-2 up in the third, only for Tsitsipas to battle back again.
An entertaining, pacey encounter was settled in bizarre fashion when Medvedev opted for an underarm serve on match point in an attempt to catch his rival off guard.
The Greek was not to be outwitted though, stepping in to send the ball down the line and beyond the big Russian – later calling Medvedev's serve a “very Millennial shot.”
Medvedev, who has resorted to the tactic on various occasions before, was unapologetic and claimed there was method in the high-stakes madness.
“I was thinking about it during the whole match, like that maybe in the important point I could do it because my opinion that he was quite far back in the court, so that can always work,” said the 25-year-old.
“But I didn't see the opportunity before, and this one I felt that he was kind of on top of me, so I thought it's going to be a good choice to bring him surprise.
“But well, it didn't work out at all. He had an easy ball to finish. He made it. But again, as I say, it was tactical.”
Fans and pundits, meanwhile, had a mixed reaction the denouement in Paris.
“What on earth was Danni [sic] thinking of?” asked one fan. “But seriously it was a great match and Medvedev played better than scoreline suggested he should have won second set and had a break in the third so plenty of positives for him to take from this tournament.”
“Inexplicable decision there. It's either an implicit surrender move or an admission of no confidence in one's serve,” claimed another observer.
“Unless it comes out that he was injured somehow, Medvedev should be embarrassed. To play some incredible tennis and end it like that is not what the game deserves.”
Tennis pundit Ben Rothenberg claimed the shot was “pretty terrible, but pretty amusing.”
What on earth was Danni thinking of? but seriously it was a great match and Medvedev played better than scoreline suggested he should have won second set and had a break in the third so plenty of positives for him to take from this tournament.— Robert Cummins (@Jabba1203) June 8, 2021
Inexplicable decision there. It's either an implicit surrender move or an admission of no confidence in one's serve. Unless it comes out that he was injured somehow, Medvedev should be embarrassed. To play some incredible tennis and end it like that is not what the game deserves— Courtexplorer (@courtexplorer) June 8, 2021
Stefanos Tsitsipas beats his rival Daniil Medvedev in impressive straight sets, 6-3, 7-6(3), 7-5.The underhand serve down match point by Medvedev was pretty terrible, but pretty amusing. #RG21— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) June 8, 2021
The unorthodox ending was only one part of a colorful display from Medvedev. The world number two also clashed with the umpire at one stage in the third set in a row over a malfunctioning scoreboard, with the Russian claiming he should have got another serve.
“If I lose the match, it’s your fault,” Medvedev told the official.
The second seed also had some choice words for organizers at Roland-Garros regarding the late-night scheduling of his match, which meant there were no fans present due to a Covid-linked curfew.
“Our match was definitely the match of the day, so Roland-Garros preferred Amazon to people,” said Medvedev, referring to the online giant which has exclusive streaming rights to some of the matches at the French Open.
“Actually I want to say that I think it's good when you have sponsors and everything because that's how we tennis players can make money, but actually we have more people this year in Roland-Garros, we have Amazon, I don't know if they had it last year, and we get 15% less prize money.
“So the question is: where is the Amazon money?”
Despite his exit on Tuesday night, Medvedev surprised many with his run to the last eight this year, not having gone beyond the first round in each of his previous four visits to the tournament.
Tsitsipas, 22, has now reached a third Major semi-final in a row and will face sixth seed Alexander Zverev in the last four, after the German swept past Spanish outsider Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in straight sets in their quarter-final.
Tsitsipas is looking to book a maiden appearance in a Grand Slam final, while Zverev, 24, will be aiming to reach a second major showpiece following his run to the US Open final last year, where he lost to Dominic Thiem in five sets.
In the other half of the draw, 13-time champion Rafael Nadal meets Argentine 10th Diego Schwartzman in his quarter-final on Friday, before world number one Novak Djokovic meets Italian ninth seed Matteo Berrettini in their last eight clash.