Medvedev beats Isner, sets up title clash with American Opelka

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Toronto, Aug 15 (IANS) Russian Daniil Medvedev overcame John Isner’s lethal serves to reach the final of the National Bank Open, beating the American 6-2, 6-2 here on Sunday (IST).

The top seed dominated on both serve and return against Isner to triumph in 55 minutes and reach his fifth ATP Masters 1000 final. Medvedev will play another big-serving American, Reilly Opelka, for the title.

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“I was playing great today. I think I almost did no unforced errors. I’m really happy with my game at this moment. I always like coming to the US Open Series. I always feel like I’m playing better and better the more the series continues. I’m really happy that I’m still in the Toronto tournament, that’s the main [thing],” Medvedev was quoted as saying by atptour.com.

Most players on the ATP Tour struggle to put Isner’s serve back in play. The 36-year-old was broken just three times in four matches en route to the last four at the Aviva Centre. But Medvedev broke his opponent’s serve four times in eight service games and won a mindboggling 50 per cent of his return points in a stunning performance.

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In the first set, Medvedev put 86 per cent of his returns in the court – many of which landed deep in the court – to set the tone and never looked back, making 84 per cent of his returns for the match. That proved the key to a easy victory.

“I had to take this opportunity, just try to break as many times as I can, stay focused and I managed to do it,” Medvedev said. “I’m really happy with the win today.”

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Medvedev will have to overcome another big server, Opelka, in the final. The 23-year-old upset Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas earlier in the day. The question will be whether the top seed will be able to replicate his returning performance to claim a fourth Masters 1000 title.

The Russian leads Opelka 3-1 in their ATP head-to-head, but three of their clashes went to a deciding set. The only straight-sets match came in the third round at Roland Garros earlier this year, when Medvedev triumphed.

“I actually watched almost all of his matches,” Medvedev said. “I think he’s playing great tennis here all week long. Today the match he turned around with Stefanos was quite unbelievable, a very hard effort.”

The world No. 2 has already lifted trophies this year in Marseille and Marbella, and also advanced to his second major final at the Australian Open.

Medvedev had reached his first Masters 1000 final at the National Bank Open two years ago when it was held in Montreal.

–IANS

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