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By Richard Pagliaro | Tennis Now | Thursday March 31, 2022

 
Hubert Hurkacz

Defending champion Hubert Hurkacz defeated a depleted Daniil Medvedev 7-6(7), 6-3 reaching his second straight Miami Open semifinal.

Photo Source: Getty

Beneath a sun-drenched sky, Daniil Medvedev could see the world No. 1 ranking within reach.

Hubert Hurkacz enacted an entirely different vision.

Tennis Express

Defending champion Hurkacz denied Medvedev his bid to regain the world No. 1 ranking posting a 7-6(7), 6-3 victory over the top seed to reach his second straight Miami Open semifinal.

Had the second-ranked Russian won this match he would regained the world No. 1 ranking from Novak Djokovic. Now, it’s Hurkacz continuing his quest to become the first man since Djokovic (2014-2016) to capture back-to-back Miami Open titles.




An energized Hurkacz fired his forehand down the line with ambition, asserted his superior net play to force his opponent to produce passes and exploited six double faults from a depleted Medvedev, who took tablets during a medical timeout midway through the second set and spent the final few games leaning on his white Tecnifibre racquet for support.

“Definitely to play Daniil is always fun, but super competitive,” Hurkacz told Tennis Channel’s Prakash Amritraj afterward. “It’s very tough to play against him.

“I was hitting my forehand a little bit better and returning a little bit better. With Daniil you’re gonna play some longer rallies so you’re gonna have time to figure things out and I was trying to do that on court.”

It’s Hurkacz’s 10th consecutive victory at Hard Rock Stadium sending the world No. 10 into his second straight Miami Open semifinal.

Hurkacz will play either 18-year-old Spanish phenom Carlos Alcaraz or Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic for a spot in Sunday’s 1 p.m. final.

A lethargic-looking Medvedev came out a bit unsettled double-faulting away the first break at 15 to fall behind 2-0.

Afterward, Medvedev said he felt ill throughout the match and started cramping in the locker room after his loss. 

"All the match I was not feeling my best. But, you know, sometimes it happens," Medvedev said.  "Like after the tough points, I felt that my breath was not recovering fast enough. But, okay, as I say, it can happen sometimes. You just fight and it gets better during the match.

"And second set, at just one moment I just felt strange. I not often feel like this, but sometimes it happens when it's hot. So don't know the actual reason. Maybe the heat. But, yeah, I was feeling super, like, dizzy, tired, and there was this long game where I couldn't serve anymore. Then, yeah, in the locker room was cramping quite much, so physically was not easy. But at the same time, yeah, that's part of the game."

The defending champion established the drop shot early, doing good work with the forehand drop shot. Hurkacz won 12 of the first 14 points played on his serve. Hurkacz hung tough erasing a pair of break points to extend his lead to 5-2.

Meanwhile, Medvedev was misfiring more frequently than normal committing four double faults in the set.

Still, the US Open champion worked his way into the match and showed his tenacity saving two set points to hold for 3-5.

Serving for the set, the No. 8 seed tightened up. Hurkacz double faulted and sprayed a forehand down the line wide to face three break points. Hurkacz bungled a backhand volley dropping serve then bounced his Yonex stick in disgust off the court after dropping serve in the ninth game.

Neither man could manage much separation in the early stages. Medvedev erased two more set points in the breaker, including a drop volley winner leveling at 7-7.




At that point, Medvedev had the momentum, but he got burned playing back to his opponent and paid the price when the Pole produced a shanked pass for 8-7 and a fifth set point. Medvedev tried to smile off the shanked shot, but felt the effects.

This time, Hurkacz was emphatic drilling a diagonal forehand to take the breaker 9-7.

Prevailing in a physical first set empowered Hurkacz and drained Medvedev, who saved a break point to start the second set.

The pair traded love breaks then Medvedev hit the wall confronting triple break point in the fifth game.

The top-seeded Russian repelled five break points in that fifth game fighting to make a stand, but Hurkacz again imposed his net play when it mattered most. A compact backhand volley gave Hurkacz a sixth break point. Driving a deep return, Hurkacz earned the first break for a 3-2 second-set lead.




After Medvedev heled at love in the seventh game, he stripped off his blue Lacoste shirt and slumped in his seat on the ensuing changeover calling for the trainer. Medvedev took a medical timeout, ingested some tablets and returned to action.

The world No. 2 had a shot at 15-30, but Hurkacz hung tough reeling off four points in a row for 5-3.

Superior net play helped Hurkacz throughout this match. He streamed forward for a slick reflex volley for match point. One final forehand winner closed Hurkacz’s 10th consecutive Miami Open victory in two hours, three minutes.


 

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