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US Open Semifinal Preview: Carlos Alcaraz vs. Daniil Medvedev
In a rematch of their Wimbledon semifinal, can Medvedev find an extra gear to dethrone the defending champion, or will Alcaraz win an 11th straight match in Flushing?
Published Sep 07, 2023
FLASHBACK: Alcaraz made quick work of Medvedev en route to his first Wimbledon title earlier this summer.
Let’s start this preview with a Spinal Tap reference: Can Medvedev go to 11 on Friday?
That’s what he says he needs from his game to have a chance to beat Alcaraz.
After his win over Andrey Rublev on Wednesday, Medvedev was asked to rate his form right now. He said it was “10 out of 10.” In his press conference afterward, a reporter wondered if even that would be enough for him to beat the world No. 1. The two times Medvedev has run up against Alcaraz this season, he’s been knocked flat. When they played in the Wimbledon semifinals, Medvedev looked like he had run out of ideas for what to do against the Spaniard.
“It needs to be 11 out of 10 because that’s how Carlos is, very strong,” Medvedev said.
“What makes him that difficult is that he has every shot. He has extra power to other players…He’s good from forehand, backhand, he can slice, drop shot.”
Unlike “97 percent” of his opponents, Medvedev said, Alcaraz also has the power to hit the ball past him.
But Medvedev still believes anyone can win on any given day, including him against Alcaraz.
“I said it one time already, I need to serve better than I did the previous matches,” he says. “I need to serve on the line if I need to. I need to put my shots on the line. I need to be there 100 percent of the time and be better.”
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Even if he redlines his game, though, it might not be enough, because this matchup works against him. Because of his drop-volley skills, Alcaraz can take advantage of Medvedev’s deep court position by coming in behind his serve. And while Alcaraz has the power to dominate the rallies, Medvedev can’t generate the same type of pace to counter him.
By the final set of their Wimbledon semi, Medvedev looked lost. Alcaraz, by contrast, is an expert on how to play Medvedev. He gave Alexander Zverev advice on how to do it before Cincinnati, and Zverev went out and beat Medvedev for the first time this season.
All of that said, Medvedev likes hard courts much more than grass, and he’s too good a player to get throttled by an opponent, even one of Alcaraz’s caliber, three straight times.
The question is: Can a player actually get to 11? Winner: Alcaraz