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Vienna Open: Medvedev tames Thiem, Hurkacz beats Ruusuvuori

Vienna (Austria), Oct 27 (IANS) World No 4 Daniil Medvedev had to bide his time against Dominic Thiem on Thursday at the Vienna Open, but the top seed’s persistence paid off as he registered a 6-3, 6-3 second-round win, here.

Both players came out firing in a hard-fought opening set at the indoor ATP 500 event. Thiem delighted the vocal home crowd with some clean hitting off both wings from the baseline, while Medvedev countered with some trademark defiant defence.

After clinching the first break of the match for 4-3, however, the top seed’s combination of consistent, powerful hitting came to the fore as he accelerated away to a 98-minute victory.

“It was a tough match. And, you know when it’s one hour, 40 minutes, even if you win 6-3, 6-3, that it was a tough match. It could have gone either way,” said Medvedev after his win.

“At one moment in the match I started to put a lot of pressure on his serve. I was serving good myself, so I didn’t (give) him too many opportunities on my serve, and that was the key today I think,” he added.

Medvedev acknowledged the seventh game of the match had been crucial as he moved level with Thiem at 3-3 in the pair’s ATP Head2Head series.

“That was the first game in the match where I actually won the first point on his serve,” said the top seed.

“Otherwise, it was 40/0 for him all the time, so it was a little bit tougher to break. This game I managed to put pressure on him. He had two or three game points where I managed to bring it back to deuce which is really important. When I won this game, I got a little bit of momentum during the match,” he added.

With the win, Medvedev equalled his quarter-final run on his only previous Vienna appearance in 2020. The 26-year-old will play sixth seed Jannik Sinner or Francisco Cerundolo next as he chases his second ATP Tour title of the season.

Medvedev is currently fifth in the ATP Live Race To Turin, and a deep run in Vienna would bring him closer to claiming one of the three remaining qualification spots for November’s Nitto ATP Finals.

Another Turin hopeful, Hubert Hurkacz, also advanced to the quarter-finals by holding his nerve to clinch a deciding-set win against Emil Ruusuvuori.The fifth seed responded well to dropping the second set against the Finn, racing to an unassailable 4-1 lead before sealing a 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 victory in which he struck 41 winners.

Hurkacz sits in ninth in the ATP Live Race To Turin as he seeks to qualify for the ATP Finals for the second time. The 25-year-old Pole could rise as high as seventh with a title run in Vienna, where his quarter-final opponent will be second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas or Borna Coric.

Also on Thursday, a confident showing from Grigor Dimitrov pegged back Andrey Rublev’s bid for his third consecutive ATP Finals appearance. The Bulgarian prevailed 6-3, 6-4 in 71 minutes to level his ATP Head to Head series with Rublev at 3-3. Rublev is sixth in the ATP Live Race To Turin, but he could be overtaken by Felix Auger-Aliassime this week.

Dimitrov’s quarter-final opponent will be Marcos Giron, who sprung an upset in impressive style with a 6-3, 6-4 win against Cameron Norrie.

Giron had gone 1-2 since reaching his maiden ATP Tour final in San Diego in September, but the American converted three from three break points to see off the seventh seed and reach his fifth tour-level quarter-final of the year.

–IANS

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