Somewhere in Serbia, or perhaps at his adopted home/tax shelter in Monte Carlo, Novak Djokovic is tearing his hair out. They have certainly heard, or perhaps seen on TV how Daniil Medvedev was defeated at the BNP Paribas tournament on Wednesday.
It was Medvedev who destroyed world No. 1 male tennis player Djokovic, who was trying to fulfill one of the true Holy Grails of the sport with a men’s singles title in the final of the US Open a month earlier. All Djokovic had to do was beat Russian Medvedev to become the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to win all four tennis majors in a calendar year.
Medvedev defeated them 6-4, 6-4, 6-4. There was a blink, rarely an opening, never a doubt.
Proceed into the sunny afternoon of Indian Wells, a massive stadium partially filled with people who came out to watch this giant killer, the No. 1 seeded player here and the No. 2 player in the world rankings. It was expected that he would slap someone in the round of 16. That’s exactly what Medvedev did in the first 45 minutes of the match against Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov.
Then, after winning the first set 6-4 and leading 4-1 in the second, the slapstick became the slapstick. Bottom out for Medvedev. Or, more precisely, the tennis gods took over Dimitrov. Suddenly, he couldn’t remember. If Medvedev hit 20 ground strokes inside the line, Dimitrov hit 21. Medvedev’s first serve went into the ether and Dimitrov zoned into the serve box. He started looking like Roger Federer on one run.
The Bulgarian giant, 30, who has been seeded number 23 here and has risen to number 3 in the world, just took over. Whatever Medvedev tried, Dimitrov had an answer. It was almost as if Djokovic had taken possession of Dimitrov’s body and he was taking revenge in disguise.
Dimitrov won eight straight games in the second set, 1–4, including the first three games of the third set. Medvedev kept trying to return to the match, but Dimitrov did not allow it. He kept breaking to pieces and gaining momentum. Usually, against Medvedev, it’s a recipe for disaster as he hits everything back – slices, topspin, moon balls, racket covers. not this time.
In the final set, Dimitrov entered the service line with a 5-3 lead, and put his thumb on the idea of any eventual return from Medvedev. It was a shocker. Fans who came to see the excellence of this Djokovic killer saw the excellence of a Bulgarian traveler instead. Medvedev gathered his belongings, including the remains of a racket, which he shattered in anger, giving him a code violation from the chair umpire, and left the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
Dimitrov stayed long enough to answer the questions of the court announcer, who correctly got to the point: “How did this happen?” Dimitrov was short of breath and was a bit vague about the answer, but said he had “thought outside the box” during the match and tried to control the points more as the match went on, not just those Instead of reacting to .
Medvedev, able to collect himself a little later, was more analytical.
“Three things happened,” he said. “I don’t remember losing my serve three, four times in a single match. This court is like clay, it’s too slow, and I hate clay. I wanted to play at night too, but they told me That the schedule didn’t allow it and I understood, but I knew the match would be difficult this day. And third, if Grigor plays the rest of the tournament like he played the other 4-1 against me, he will win here. He Played the second half of the match better than anyone I’ve played against during the entire US Open.
Dimitrov, even later in his press conference, was less certain about why and how.
“I guess I just stayed in the game.” he said. “I was watching him. I admire how he’s always looking for a way to win. That’s why I really wanted to play this match.”
Along with Djokovic, Medvedev and Dimitrov also have a tax shelter/home/residence in Monte Carlo. Maybe at some point, when the tour breaks, they can get together and talk about it over a few beers.
On second thought, not likely.