He’s lighting up New York with some absurd shot-making – so is this FINALLY Daniil Medvedev’s time for Grand Slam glory? (VIDEO)
Daniil Medvedev is a man in form at Flushing Meadows, dazzling the New York crowds with some stupendous shot-making – so could this finally be the time for the big Russian to turn his talent into Grand Slam glory?
Say what you like about Medvedev – and plenty have called his style clumsy, ugly to watch, and even ‘weird’ – but he is rarely anything less than entertaining.
The highlights reels from this year's US Open do justice to that: ridiculous returns, round-the-net winners, shots with his back turned – they’ve all gone viral.
They’ve been part of Medvedev’s thus-far serene passage in New York, where he is into a quarter-final date with Dutch qualifier Botic van de Zandschulp on Tuesday.
Medvedev is yet to drop a set at this year’s tournament and will be heavily fancied to ease past a man ranked outside the top 100 in the world.
“If I play good, I know what I'm capable of. It’s tough to beat me,” said Medvedev after his routine win over Britain’s Dan Evans in the last round.
“I want to win every tournament I play in, without putting pressure on myself. Because again, I know how to win matches, and I know sometimes why I lose them, so that’s just learning and being better for the next time.”
Now comfortably ensconced as world number two, Medvedev is no stranger to winning big titles – 12 in total on the ATP tour, including his biggest accolade at last year’s tour finals in London.
Grand Slam success, however, has so far eluded him.
The 6ft 6in Russian was blown away by Novak Djokovic in this season’s Australian Open final, and two years ago at Flushing Meadows pushed Rafael Nadal all the way before falling short in a five-set epic.
Nadal is among the injury casualties this time around, but Djokovic – ever the warrior – is very much still on the scene, hunting what could be an historic calendar Grand Slam.
The Serb has been forced to scrap more than Medvedev – including coming from behind to beat US youngster Jenson Brooksby in the last round – but his grit is beyond question.
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Medvedev, though, looks well and truly in the groove – fully completing his role reversal from the villain he was during his run to the final in New York two years ago into the certified crowd favorite he is today.
For good measure, Medvedev has even garnered more praise for some articulate answers to the media on social issues.
For the most part, Medvedev is also far less prone to the on-court outbursts that too often punctuated his younger days on the tour - even if the 25-year-old still flirts with self-combustion a little too much for his fans' liking.
But on the evidence so far, if Medvedev can keep things together – and if the shots keep on flowing – the stage looks well set for him in New York.
Finally, this could be the year he goes all the way.