Medvedev rise marked in Marseille, Muguruza lifts Dubai silverware

 - Alex Sharp

Daniil Medvedev has reached a significant milestone as world No.2, whilst Garbine Muguruza continues to compile an impressive 2021.

Daniil Medvedev Open 13 Provence Marseille©Corinne Dubreuil / OPEN 13 PROVENCE

The shift of power at the top of the men’s game continues to build momentum off the racket of Daniil Medvedev. The Russian has been picking up a succession of prestigious trophies and has been rewarded with the world No.2 ranking on Monday.

In doing so the 25-year-old is the first player outside the much-heralded ‘Big Four’ to occupy spot No.2 since Australian Lleyton Hewitt in July 2005.

“I am really happy. I knew that I would become No. 2 no matter what on Monday… It is always better when you step up the rankings when you do something great. I know that winning here didn’t give me the points to become No. 2, but it is great for the self-esteem that just before becoming No.2, I win a tournament.” 

Medvedev crowned his rankings rise with his 10th ATP title at the Open 13 Provence. The Russian managed to quell the resistance and net-surging of Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert 6-4, 6-7(4), 6-4 on Sunday.

“I am really happy about the number 10. It gets me to two digits, something which I dreamt of when I was a kid,” said Marseille champion Medvedev. “I think it is already a great number, but I am going to try to work more and get some more.”

Standout wins and silverware success, Medvedev is a man on a mission in 2021. Over on the WTA side and Garbiñe Muguruza is in similarly scintillating form.

The two-time Grand Slam champion has reached the very peak, but with a tour-leading 18 wins this season, the 27-year-old is intent on bolstering her honours list.

On the weekend the Spaniard edged Barbora Krejcikova 7-6(6), 6-3 to claim the Dubai title, signing off a brilliant week which included three Top 10 wins facing Iga Swiatek (losing just four games), Aryna Sabalenka (battling back from a set deficit) and Elise Mertens.

"It means a lot, it’s never easy to win titles," reflected Muguruza, having picked up her eighth career title. "It doesn’t happen often, and I’m excited that it happened now, after a few finals that didn’t go my way. A nice relief to be able to hold a champion’s trophy."

The former world No.1, up now to 13th in the rankings, last won a title at Monterrey two years ago. Since then Muguruza advanced to the Australian Open 2020 final and this campaign has already featured in two other finals in Melbourne and Qatar. 

The 27-year-old is blasting the ball with captivating consistency and alongside hailing the work of her team, Muguruza is content to chase the top prizes at her own pace.

“I feel stronger on the court, it’s a lot of work behind it. I’m very motivated,” stated the Spaniard. 

“I feel it’s a good moment in my career, with my age, with my knowledge, the things that I’ve achieved. I don’t think I have to prove no more that I can win a Grand Slam, that I can be No.1.

“Of course, I want to be in those positions again but this is not pressure anymore. I’ve done it and I want to do it again.”

Elsewhere, having halted Roger Federer’s long-awaited comeback, Nikoloz Basilashvili won the Qatar Open.

The Georgian saved a match point to fend off Federer in the quarter-finals, before overpowering Roberto Bautista Agut 7-6(5), 6-2 in Sunday’s title match.