Machac vs Medvedev: Things we learned

Medvedev is through to the last 16, but don't write off Machac this season

Daniil Medvedev, third round, Roland-Garros 2024©Nicolas Gouhier / FFT
 - Alex Sharp

As a former world No.1 and Grand Slam champion in New York back in 2021, Daniil Medvedev has been there and done that.

On Saturday, the world No.5 was forced to use all his major experience to prevail in a compelling and complex 7-6(4), 7-5, 1-6, 6-4 encounter with Czech Tomas Machac.

Medvedev now moves once again into the fourth round and faces Alex de Minaur.

Medvedev's best is in reach

It is well-documented that the 20-time tour title winner has endured a mixed relationship with clay court tennis. 

Even though the 28-year-old maintains that he struggles with the movement on the surface, his astonishing retrieval skills were enhanced by some rapid side-to-side and back-to-front sprints. 

Playing so well, adapting to the movement, the No.5 seed has a huge chance of matching and then surpassing his Roland-Garros best, which was a quarter-final run in 2021.

In the last 16 he boasts an emphatic head-to-head record over his opponent, leading de Minaur 6-2; Medvedev must be confident of extending his stay in Paris. 

Daniil Medvedev a pris le meilleur sur Tomas Machac.Photo Andre Ferreira / FFT

Czech hotshot proves quality

In the past couple of seasons Machac has sprinkled in some sensational hot shots, which have been widely shared on social media.

The 23-year-old hit not one, but two left-handed forehands in a thrilling rally at 2-2 in the opening set. The final passing shot drew an almighty roar from the captivated Court Suzanne-Lenglen crowd, and rightly so.

It's points like this that prove Machac can be underrated. He's already posted significant results and even defeated world No.1 Novak Djokovic 6-4, 0-6, 6-1 en route to the Geneva final just over a week ago. 

Machac is certainly one to watch for the remainder of 2024.

Serve essential for Daniil to dominate

With Medvedev still uncertain over his clay court movement, his basics are the key. Take his serve, for instance.

The former world No.1's delivery missed the radar in the third set. Medvedev landed just 37 per cent of first serves (62 per cent in the whole match). As a result, he only won three of 12 second serve points as Machac went all-out on the attack to extend the clash.

But like all major winners, Medvedev found a way, rediscovering his service rhythm in the fourth set. With pressure mounting at 4-4, the No.5 seed clattered down his 14th and last ace within a blink-and-you'll-miss-it 94-second hold. 

That enabled him to avoid a five-set marathon. Medvedev must keep up the serving numbers if he is to shoot for the silverware . 

Demon duel is going to be top speed

Next up, Medvedev will face the roadrunner No.11 seed de Minaur.

"We both move great. I feel like we both know how to attack well, but at the same time we're not someone who both of us who can make one shot that's going to decide the rally, so then the rally goes long and long because we both defend well," said Medvedev, who owns a 6-2 record against the Australian.

"I feel like we had a lot of good matches. Some he won; some I won. Some were in a way better than the others. Some were maybe a bit worse level. All of them were fun, and I'm looking forward to it.

"First time on clay - we practised a week before Roland Garros in Monte-Carlo. I think we can both play well, and it's going to be interesting."