Medvedev warns: Write me off at your peril

Russian world No.2 's fourth-round triumph puts Tstisipas on notice

Medvedev VS Garin - Huitième de finale Roland-Garros 2021©Julien Crosnier / FFT
 - Dan Imhoff

Round by round, Daniil Medvedev is confounding critics at will on his way to a maiden Roland-Garros quarter-final.

It is not the No.2 seed’s overriding objective, by any means; more part and parcel of blitzing all before him – free of fuss – as he continues to break new ground.

The Russian quashed any threat of his Madrid conqueror Cristian Garin banking on a repeat, in a dominant 6-2, 6-1, 7-5 victory on Sunday.

From a man who had never won a match on clay in Paris before 2021, Medvedev has conceded only one set en route to a rematch of his Australian Open semi-final against fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas.

The 25-year-old, it seems, is a sponge for knowledge as he improves by the day on this once baffling surface.

“I learned that Roland-Garros, I need to play like on hard courts because [it] is bouncing low and fast. I don't know if it was like this before and I was just unlucky with the draw,” Medvedev said.

“Definitely what I learned, that I can move really well on clay. For this I need to have good shots. If you don't have good shots, good players on clay, they start to move you all around the court… Here I'm able with these balls, with these conditions, to make shots that [are] not going to let my opponent attack me straightaway.

“Then I can take control of the game and be a great mover on clay. That's one part that I learned.”

Unlike his tormentor, Garin could not have been more at home on clay. He owns five career titles on it, even claiming the Roland-Garros junior trophy eight years ago.

The Chilean had already used a get-out-of-jail card in the second round, where he denied Mackenzie McDonald from a couple of match points down, and if he was to do the same against Medvedev, it would have to be from a couple of sets down.

Both men had their right arm worked on early in the third set, however, it was the Russian who returned in no mood for a protracted ordeal.

Successive loose errors from Garin planted the seed of doubt at 5-all. Dragged well wide, the world No.2 pulled off back-to-back forehand winners and raised his arms to the crowd’s roars of approval each time.

Two more winners off the forehand and an ace delivered three match points. A backhand ripped deep into the corner two points later saw off Garin and set the crowd off again.

Four months ago, Medvedev easily accounted for Tsitsipas at Melbourne Park and despite holding a 6-1 advantage from their encounters, he is well aware the Greek has become one of the men to beat on clay.

“Playing Stefanos in quarters, by the results this year on clay, he's definitely in top three, top four, together with Sascha, Novak, and Rafa on clay,” Medvedev said. “I'm really looking forward to this match.”

Given his affinity for all things French – he has resided there, woos the crowds fluently en Français and boasts French companies in his stable of sponsors – Medvedev knows a little ground work won’t go astray ahead of his quarter-final showdown.

“I hope people who are watching on TV will think ‘Oh, he speaks French, he's nice, we will support him’,” Medvedev told Fabrice Santoro in his on-court interview.

As chants of “Daniil! Daniil! Daniil!” rang out, he acknowledged with a rallying cry.

“Mardi, s’il vous plait” – Tuesday, please.