Paris, Nov 5 | Russian world No.2 Daniil Medvedev kept alive his hopes of ending the year as the No.1 tennis player in the world, playing inspired tennis to overcome the challenge of Sebastian Korda of the United States 4-6, 6-1, 6-3 en route to the Rolex Paris Masters quarterfinals here.
The reigning US Open champion, who had beaten world No.1 Novak Djokovic in the last major of the year, will next face French qualifier Hugo Gaston, who wrote another chapter of his fairytale run here in a late Thursday-night game, coming back to defeat 18-year-old Carlos Alcaraz of Spain 6-4, 7-5.
Medvedev claimed a decisive break at 3-2 in the final set after losing the opening set, to make it to the last-eight. “I had adrenaline going (from another searing shot earlier in the game) and that’s how it’s possible to make these shots. It was a little bit of luck, a little bit of skill and a little bit of magic,” Medvedev said after the game to atptour.com.
The Russian was fully focused on continuing his title defence and not handing Novak Djokovic an early path to the year-end No. 1 ATP Ranking. Medvedev’s loss to Korda would have guaranteed Djokovic a record-breaking seventh year-end No. 1 finish. If Medvedev wins the Paris title, his faint hopes of finishing No. 1 himself will carry over to the ATP Finals in Turin.
Medvedev made only 17 unforced errors, less than half the 40 Korda made. He earned 14 break point chances, converting five, while dropping serve twice. “It was a tough first set where I felt that I had the margin but I didn’t manage to break him (from 0/40 at 3-2) and he turned it around against me,” Medvedev said. “But I was really happy that I stayed calm and kept my level and that was enough to win today.”
World No. 103 French qualifier Hugo Gaston, egged by the Paris crowd, rallied from 0-5 in the second set to win 20 of the last 21 points of the match to stun Alcaraz 6-4, 7-5.
“(The atmosphere) was incredible. Honestly, I have been playing tennis for this. It was actually incredible. It was really wonderful to live this match with them. I actually won because they supported me from beginning to the end even when I had a letdown during the first or the second set, they were always cheering me. It’s incredible to have such a great public.”