In a battle between two Top 10 Russian talents, Daniil Medvedev defeated Karen Khachanov, 6-1, 7-6 (6), to move into the biggest final of his career Saturday evening in Montreal. The world No. 9 will face defending champion Rafael Nadal, who received a walkover into the title match after Gael Monfils, who earlier edged Roberto Bautista Agut in a rain-delayed quarterfinal, withdrew with an ankle injury.
Medvedev was aided early by his countryman, who twice hit a double fault to drop serve in the opening set. The eighth-ranked Khachanov was given new life after Medvedev failed to close out the match at 5-4 in the second set, which led to a back-and-forth tiebreaker. On his second match point, Medvedev clinched victory after a lengthy exchanged ended with a bit of luck: a backhand netcord trickled over, out his sprinting opponent’s reach.
"I was feeling so good before the two serves I lost. I was really relaxed, I just made a break and was feeling like, ‘that’s it.’ I was confident but then there were some mistakes I should not have done," Medvedev said. "When he’s back in the match, he can always win. I was so [mad] at myself during those moments so I'm really happy to be through."
Medvedev is 4-4 in ATP singles finals. (Getty Images)
With the win, Medvedev avenged his loss to Khachanov on home soil in last year’s Moscow semifinals. He was effective when coming forward, winning 14 of 17 points. The 23-year-old is seeking his second title this year, having triumphed in Sofia, and is coming off a runner-up effort in Washington DC last week.
Medvedev and Nadal have never faced off before. The Spaniard is seeking his fifth trophy at the ATP Masters 1000 event and third of 2019, following title runs in Rome and Roland Garros.