Daniil Medvedev bleeds, literally, for his first title of 2022

“The good thing about tennis is that in one week you can turn around your season,” Daniil Medvedev said after his 7-5, 6-0 win over Cam Norrie in the Los Cabos final on Saturday.

This is true, but it’s not a sentiment you typically hear from a player who is ranked No. 1 in the world. Then again, Medvedev’s brief reign at the top of the ATP has been anything but typical. Since he first ascended to that ranking in February, he had failed to win a tournament, and had been banned from playing in the biggest one of all, Wimbledon. Before Sunday, Medvedev’s last title had come at the US Open, almost 11 months earlier. The drought was, understandably, beginning to bother him.

“Coming here I had lost five finals in a row,” Medvedev said. “That’s not nice, I want to do better.

“You never know if it’s going to happen or not, and for sure before this final I was a little bit nervous, a little bit more than usual. But now I’m really happy.”


Medvedev will now head to the National Bank Open in Montreal, where he's the defending champion.

Medvedev will now head to the National Bank Open in Montreal, where he's the defending champion.

Medvedev won four matches in Los Cabos, all in straight sets, and two of them over quality opponents, Norrie and Miomir Kecmanovic. Back on his favored hard courts for the first time since March, he looked as comfortable as ever. He did have a hiccup in the final, though. Serving at 5-4, 40-15, double set point, he suddenly tightened up on a forehand, put two backhands in the net, and was broken. When Norrie won the first point at 5-5, it looked like the wind was in the Brit’s sails.

Then Medvedev did two things. First, he scraped his hand on the court while going for a low backhand, and took a fairly prolonged medical time-out to stop the bleeding. Then, down 30-0, annoyed, and pushed into the corner of the court, he took a big slap at a forehand pass that Norrie couldn’t handle at the net. The combination of Medvedev’s time out and his forehand pass was enough to swing the momentum back in his favor. He didn’t lose another game.

“Actually bleeding helped me I think a little bit so I could hold my nerve a little bit more,” Medvedev said. “Since then I just managed to play good, and it was enough today.”

Medvedev bled, literally, for this title. With the win, he brought a sense of order to the summer hard-court season. With Novak Djokovic likely absent and Rafael Nadal still recovering from an abdominal injury, Medvedev re-installed himself as the US Open favorite, and made it clear again—to himself especially—who’s No. 1.


Nick Kyrgios uses his talents efficiently to win his first title in three years

The path to consistent success for Nick Kyrgios would seem to be a three-step process.

First, he has to care. Before 2022, that was often not the case for the 27-year-old Australian. But Kyrgios’ attitude toward the sport has undergone something of a sea change this year. He’s fitter, he’s showing up for more tournaments, and he’s not tanking once he gets to them. Coming into his final against Yoshihito Nishioka at the Citi Open on Sunday, he was 26-7 this year, and had reached the semifinals or better at five straight events.

Second, he has to avoid getting bogged down in endless rage exchanges with chair umpires and his player box. There’s obviously still a lot of work to be done on this front. Even during his recent run of success at Wimbledon and in D.C., Kyrgios has spent his fair share of time finding people to berate and scapegoat for his mistakes. But he hasn’t blown up any matches or fully sabotaged his efforts.

Kyrgios saved five match points in his quarterfinal against Frances Tiafoe, and was lights out otherwise. Is it time to take him seriously as a US Open title threat?

Kyrgios saved five match points in his quarterfinal against Frances Tiafoe, and was lights out otherwise. Is it time to take him seriously as a US Open title threat?


Third, Kyrgios has to make the best use of his talents. This doesn’t get mentioned as much when we talk about his inability to live up to his potential. But it isn’t just his emotions that hold him back. He has the ability to impose his will with a more straightforward game—big serve, powerful flat forehands and backhands into the corners, and good hands at net. Instead, he has tended to hang back and settle for flicky, spinny forehands, and throw in as many drop shots and tweeners as he can, no matter what the score is.

On Sunday, and for most of his time in D.C., it was the more straightforward, less fancy Kyrgios who showed up to play. Is it any surprise that he won his first title since 2019, also at the Citi Open? Against Nishioka, he looked to run around and fire as many forehands as he could. He jumped on his return and used it as a weapon. He didn’t try the drop shot unless he was already in a winning position. And as far as I can remember, he tried just one tweener—which fizzled before it reached the net. Kyrgios broke Nishioka’s serve in the opening game of each set, and finished a 6-4, 6-3 win in an efficient 81 minutes.

Granted, Nishioka was giving up eight inches to the Aussie, and had put in more than 11 hours on court last week. But this is a game style that Kyrgios—if and when he cares to—can impose on anyone.

Daria Kasatkina plays with a new sense of calm in San Jose

Shelby Rogers had the San Jose crowd behind her. She had the first set in her pocket. She had her opponent, Daria Kasatkina, in a state of “malaise,” as Tennis Channel commentator Mark Petchey put it. Against all odds, Rogers was winning the long points against her smaller, speedier, steadier opponent. When Kasatkina listlessly dropped a backhand into the net at 1-1 in the second set, it looked, for just a split-second, as if she might be out of answers, and that Rogers might finally be hoisting a champion’s trophy.

Did the thought that she was on the verge of winning her first WTA title, at age 29, after more than a decade of trying, enter Rogers’ mind in that moment? Whether the issue was mental or physical, something changed for her, and in the dynamics of the match. All the way through the first set, Rogers had been patient, and had waited for just the right moment to try to end the rallies. In the second set, though, she pulled the trigger a little too soon, and failed to capitalize on her opportunities. The chances were still there, but she couldn’t take enough of them. Instead it was Kasatkina who put the American on the run with her looped ground strokes into the corners, and who built a defensive fortress behind the baseline. From 1-1 in the second set, Rogers would win just two more games.

WATCH: Kasatkina collapses to the court in celebration after winning the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic


What had looked to be a breakthrough day for the American became one for the Russian instead. Last year in the San Jose final, Kasatkina lost in three sets to another American, Danielle Collins. And despite reaching the semifinals in Paris and Rome, and moving up to No. 12 in the rankings, she had yet to win a title this year. Her 6-7 (2) 6-1, 6-2 win was a well-earned capstone to a season in which she has finally returned to the heights she scaled four years ago, during her peak year of 2018.

Is it a coincidence that Kasatkina has also had made a personal breakthrough this year? She has come out as a lesbian, revealed her relationship with a Russian figure skater, and denounced her country’s LGBTQ repression, as well as its invasion of Ukraine.

“I’m really happy about it,” Kasatkina said earlier this week. “As I saw, it was not just a good thing for me, also it helped other people. I feel more free and happy. I think I made the right step. With the situation in the world, all this stuff that is tough, when if not now?”

Kasatkina’s sense of happiness seemed to translate into a sense of calm on court. Even down a set, she never looked perturbed or overly emotional. She’s always had a Top 10 game. We’ll see how far her newfound freedom can take her in the months ahead.