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Medvedev vs Dimitrov US Open SF Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: In-form Medvedev battles surprise semi-finalist, Dimitrov for a US Open final spot

Leye Aduloju in ATP Tour 6 Sep 2019
  • Daniil Medvedev vs Grigor Dimitrov is live from New York on Friday, 6 September from 4:00pm local time/ 9:00pm BST
  • Medvedev and Dimitrov have split their two previous meetings
Daniil Medvedev. (Photo by Cynthia Lum/Icon SMI via ZUMA Press)

A maiden Grand Slam final is on the line as Daniil Medvedev and Grigor Dimitrov go head-to-head in the semi-finals of the US Open on Friday.

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While Dimitrov is into his third Grand Slam semi-final, this is uncharted territory for Medvedev, who had never been past the fourth round of a major prior to the 2019 US Open.

Still, the Russian's run has not come as a major surprise, given the incredible level he had attained in the lead-up to, and during the tournament. Medvedev goes into Friday's semi-final on an 11-match winning streak, while he has also won 19 of his last 21 matches. The Russian is seeking a fourth consecutive final on the North American hard courts, having finished second in Washington and Montreal (lost to Nick Kyrgios and Rafael Nadal respectively), before claiming the biggest title of his career in Cincinnati- his maiden Masters 1000 crown.

He has simply carried on winning in New York, where he has advanced to his first major semi-final. Medvedev's US Open run has not been without hiccups- he took out India's Prajnesh Gunneswaran in straight sets in the first round, but he has needed four sets to get through each of his last four matches, beating Hugo Dellien, Feliciano Lopez, Dominik Koepfer and Stan Wawrinka. The 23-year-old has struggled with his fitness, which is hardly surprising given the number of matches he has played in the last month, while he has also been involved in a running battle with the New York crowd, who took exception to his attitude during his third-round victory over Lopez, when he snatched the towel from a ball boy and made an offensive gesture towards the crowd. Medvedev was booed on his entry into the Arthur Ashe Stadium for his quarter final against Wawrinka, but he seemed to have won the crowd over by the end of the match, as he received supportive cheers and kind applause from large sections after another superb win over Wawrinka.

Medvedev received medical attention midway through the opening set against Wawrinka, raising the strong possibility of a retirement, but the Russian soldiered on to sneak a tight set, after saving set point. His problems appeared to ease off following that set, as the Cincinnati champion broke in the fourth game of the second set and maintained that advantage to take a two-set lead. Wawrinka fought back to take the third, but Medvedev again showed his impressive mental fortitude in the fourth set, banishing the disappointment of losing that third set to dominate the fourth. He won five of the six games to close out a 7-6 6-3 3-6 6-1 victory.

Medvedev's brilliance has not just been limited to the North American hard-court season, as he been right in the business ends of tournaments for most of the season. The 23-year-old was champion in Sofia in February, while he's made other finals in Brisbane and Barcelona, and semi-finals Rotterdam, Monte Carlo, Queen's, and now, the US Open. There was one bad patch after Barcelona when he lost five straight matches, but apart from that he has been consistently going deep in tournaments, building up a tour leading 48 match wins for the season.

He will go after win No. 49 on Friday when he confronts Grigor Dimitrov in the US Open semi-finals. 

While Medvedev was very much considered a contender for the US Open title at the start of the tournament, not many would have seen Dimitrov coming, but the Bulgarian has put together a run in New York, where he's made his first US Open semi-final.

This is his third major semi-final, adding to his efforts at Wimbledon in 2014 and the Australian Open in 2017. A superb 2017 also included titles in Brisbane and the Nitto ATP Finals, and a climb to a career-high No. 3 in the world, but just when he appeared set for a long spell at the top echelon of the sport, he completely lost his way, and tumbled down the rankings. The 28-year-old arrived the 2019 US Open at No. 78 in the world.

The eight-time ATP Tour titlist had also lost seven of his last eight matches leading up to the US Open, but he has won four in New York, beating Andreas Seppi, Kamil Majchrzak, Alex De Minaur and of course, Federer to reach the semi-finals at Flushing Meadows. He had a dose of luck along the way, with Borna Coric withdrawing from their scheduled second round meeting due to a back complaint, but he has played some of his finest tennis to get this far, especially against De Minaur in the fourth round, and Federer in the quarters, where he fought back from two sets to one down to upset the great Swiss.

Dimitrov went into his quarter final against the Federer as the firm underdog, having lost all seven previous matches against the 20-time major champion, and won only two sets across those matches, and but he snapped that losing run with a battling 3-6 6-4 3-6 6-4 6-2 victory.

"I think the past six, seven months have been pretty rough for me. But I had somebody to lean on, my friends, my family. I kept on believing again in the work, the rehab I had to put behind my shoulder, the exercise, the practice, fixing up the racquet a little bit. There were so many things I had to adjust in such a small but big period of time," Dimitrov said. "Next thing you know, you're almost [at the] end of the year, you have a result like that. It's pretty special to me."

The Bulgarian is through to his first semi-final of the season, with his previous best result of 2019 being reaching the quarter-final in Brisbane and the fourth round at the Australian Open. He has not made a final since February last year. Can he end that long drought by taking down Medvedev on Friday?

Both men have split their two previous meetings- Dimitrov winning at Queen's in 2017, and Medvedev responding with a victory in Washington later that same year. 

Dimitrov is the more aesthetic shot-maker, but he will be up against a brick wall in Medvedev, who will send everything back with interest from his camp behind the baseline. What makes Medvedev even more difficult to play is that he complements that obdurate baseline game with a very potent offence, off the serve and off the ground. He has the ability to win cheap points, but he is also tough to break down in extended rallies.

Dimitrov is athletic enough to stay with Medvedev, but does he have the patience and the discipline to outlast the Russian?

Fatigue could again be a factor for Medvedev, but he has miraculously pulled through so far, and with a two-day break between his quarter final and semi-final- surely he should be OK for Friday?

Daniil Medvedev vs Grigor Dimitrov is live from New York on Friday, 6 September from 4:00pm local time/ 9:00pm BST

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Medvedev vs Dimitrov US Open SF Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: In-form Medvedev battles surprise semi-finalist, Dimitrov for a US Open final spot

Daniil Medvedev and Grigor Dimitrov go head-to-head on Friday as they battle for a semi-final spot at the US Open. Read our preview, predictions and stream the match live online.

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