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By Richard Pagliaro | @Tennis_Now | Tuesday, March 26, 2024


Defending champion Daniil Medvedev defeated Dominik Koepfer 7-6(5), 6-0 to charge into his fourth consecutive Miami quarterfinal with his 350th career win.

Photo credit: Miami Open/Hard Rock Stadium

Facing a confident Daniil Medvedev on hard court is more than a tennis test—it’s a power-lifting challenge.

Today, Medvedev piled up pressure on Dominik Koepfer like a man stacking weights on a strained training partner until his legs turned licorice.

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Rallying from love-4 down in the tiebreaker, Medvedev conquered Koepfer 7-6(5), 6-0 cruising into his fourth consecutive Miami Open quarterfinal.

Consistently deep drives from Medvedev constricted Koepfer, who played an excellent opening set but could not stay in step in the second.

“That’s my goal: if you want to beat me you need to play a minimum of two sets on a very high level without drops otherwise I’m going to try to take it,” Medvedev told Tennis Channel’s Prakash Amritraj afterward. “That’s when I started playing well when I discovered I can put a load of constant pressure on my opponents.

“And so if you want to beat me you need to play a very good match from the start to the finish and that’s a very good feeling when you come on court and you know your opponent knows it.”

It’s a milestone moment for Medvedev, who scored his 350th career victory advancing to his 19th Masters 1000 quarterfinal.

“Novak has like 1,200 [wins]; I’m trying my best, I try also to play a little bit less tournaments than before,” Medvedev said. “To be 100 percent honest with you: I really don’t care how many wins now, it’s about titles, the biggest titles.

“I’m trying to play the biggest tournaments, trying to play the biggest guys, if I manage to win still may times it’s a great feeling.”

One feeling the former world No. 1 has yet to experience: Defending a tournament title.

All 20 of Medvedev’s career championships have come in 20 different cities. Raising his 2024 record to 17-3, Medvedev is aiming for that first title defense this week on a Miami hard court that plays a bit faster and elicits a lower bounce than Indian Wells.

The 50th-ranked Koepfer fell to 1-16 vs. Top 10 opponents, but certainly gave Medvedev a scare for one set.

Showing his sharp-shooting creativity, Medvedev was so far off court he was closer to the Rolex clock near the back wall than he was to net when he blurred a backhand pass in the third game.

Sliding his third ace down the T, the German held for 5-4.

Responding to that hold, Medvedev slammed his sixth ace out wide to cap his own love hold and level after 10 games.

The former US Open champion held at 15 to force the tiebreaker.

Dripping a brilliant drop shot to draw Medvedev forward, Koepfer clocked a backhand pass for a 2-0 lead in the tiebreaker. Hooking the sliding lefty serve out wide, propelled Koepfer to a 4-0 lead.

Active on the advice of coach Gilles Cervara, Medvedev played the German’s more erratic forehand wing and drew a slew of errors reeling off five points in a row for 5-4.

A sharp Medvedev lifted his level storming through seven of the last eight points to snatch a one-set lead after one hour.

Continuing to target the left-hander’s forehand, Medvedev drew the floated error breaking for a 2-0 second-set lead.

A year ago, Medvedev posted a 55-1 record when winning the opening set. This year, he’s 12-1 when winning the first set with his lone loss coming when the Russian failed to close a two-set lead against Jannik Sinner in the Australian Open final.

A patient Medvedev methodically stretched his lead and cruised through 12 of the final 15 points.

When Koepfer flagged a forehand into net, Medvedev wrapped a love break to seal a 90-minute victory.

The 2021 US Open champion will face Chilean Nicolas Jarry for a semifinal spot.

The No. 22-seeded Jarry smacked eight aces and won 36 of 41 first-serve points beating 2022 US Open finalist Casper Ruud 7-6(3), 6-3 on Grandstand.

In their lone prior meeting, Medvedev topped Jarry 6-3, 6-4 on red clay at the 2019 Barcelona.


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