The New York crowd fuelled Daniil Medvedev’s memorable run to the US Open final in 2019 – will he get…
The New York crowd fuelled Daniil Medvedev’s memorable run to the US Open final in 2019 – will he get off to a winning start without them?
Daniil Medvedev vs Federico Delbonis | US Open men's singles R1 | 2/9/2020 1.30am BST4 sets 4/1 Bet Now! New Customers only. 18+. T&C’s Apply. begambleaware.org.
Medvedev vs Delbonis is live from New York on Wednesday 2 September, 8.30pm local/1.30am BST
Twelve months after the biggest result of his career to date, Daniil Medvedev returns to the US Open as the third seed, only to find the stands empty of the noisy crowds whose animosity – and eventual encouragement – helped him battle through tough matches to reach the final, where he pushed Rafael Nadal to five sets.
Medvedev, who also picked up two Masters 1000 Series titles in 2019, had an 8-4 record in 2020 before the shutdown and reached the quarterfinals in ‘Cincinnati’ last week. Is he set for a solid beginning to his US Open campaign as he takes on powerful Argentine Federico Delbonis on Tuesday?
Read on for our preview, predictions and live streaming information.
How to watch Medvedev vs Delbonis live
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Medvedev vs Delbonis: Head-to-head
This will be the first meeting between Daniil Medvedev and Federico Delbonis.
Medvedev vs Delbonis: Preview
While everybody can agree that 17-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic, an unbeaten 23-0 in 2020, is the overwhelming favourite to win the men’s title at the 2020 US Open, Medvedev has been one of a handful of names that’s been mentioned as a realistic alternative contender.
The Russian was so impressive at last year’s US Open and has beaten Djokovic, albeit not in a best-of-five sets match; moreover, he’s lucky enough to have been drawn in the opposite half to the Serb, so he doesn’t have to contend with him until the final.
As far as form is concerned, Medvedev looked very good in ‘Cincinnati’ last week in wins over a pair of qualifiers and the first set against Roberto Bautista Agut in the quarterfinals, which he won 6-1 in less than 30 minutes. But after failing to convert three break points on Bautista Agut’s serve at the beginning of the second set, Medvedev then failed to adjust to Bautista Agut’s shifting tactics in any way, and his ultimate 6-1, 4-6, 3-6 defeat to the Spaniard was uncomfortably reminiscent of other matches when he’s allowed big leads to slip away.
Best-of-five set matches mean more time to recover from that kind of lapse, but one thing Medvedev can learn from the likes of Djokovic is the art of efficient, energy-conserving early-round matches at majors. A straight-sets victory over Delbonis would be just the perfect beginning to his campaign.
The powerful Argentine is not a negligible opponent, however. He was ranked as high as world no. 33 in May 2016, the year he won his second ATP Tour title; he’s beaten Roger Federer, Stan Wawrinka and Andy Murray, the last-named on a hard court; he’s made the last 16 at Indian Wells and Miami before now. Currently ranked world no. 79, Delbonis has a mammoth left-handed forehand which he can use like a bludgeon, and a big serve to boot. Where he might struggle on these US Open courts is having the time to set up that forehand, and he’s also not the best mover on a hard court against an opponent who can make him run. Medvedev is superlatively good at making people do that, but the Russian will also want to be proactive in the match, to keep Delbonis under pressure instead of waiting for him to make mistakes. Letting his foot off the gas at any point might cost him precious energy later in the tournament.