World No. 4, Daniil Medvedev brings his outrageous form to the Paris Masters, where he opens against Frenchman, Jeremy Chardy on Tuesday.
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Medvedev’s post-Wimbledon numbers have been simply mind-boggling, as he’s won 29 of 32 matches, reached six consecutive finals, and claimed three titles during an incredible passage of form.
He arrives Paris on a nine-match winning streak, having won his last two tournaments in St. Petersburg and the Shanghai Masters. He is not only aiming to win three titles on the bounce, but he’s also attempting to complete a hat-trick of Masters 1000 triumphs, having won the last two tournaments in the prestigious series in Cincinnati and Shanghai.
Somewhere in between those successes in Cincinnati and Shanghai, he also made his maiden Grand Slam final, where he pushed Rafael Nadal to the brink before falling just short in an epic-five set final. The other finals during this six-tournament surge were in Washington and Montreal. He is at a tour-leading 58-17 for the year, and has been ranked No. 4 since the end of the US Open.
A lot has been said about Medvedev’s post-Wimbledon run of results, and rightly so, because he has been amazing, but the pre-Wimbledon results were not shabby either, as he had already won a title in Sofia, made finals in Brisbane and Barcelona, and reached semi-finals in Rotterdam, Monte Carlo and Queen’s. He has only just gone and elevated that level into stratospheric heights, and scarily for the rest of the tour, he has no intentions of stopping anytime soon.
“It’s not that I’m afraid, but rather that I don’t want it to stop,” Medvedev said ahead of his Paris campaign. “I want to work as hard as I can to make sure that this momentum doesn’t stop. It has worked well so far and I hope to continue”.
“My goal is still the same: to be better every day with each training, each tournament [and] to win tournaments. It’s been working well so far. It’s a source of real pleasure.”
If opponents are looking for a chink in Medvedev’s armour, maybe his Paris Masters record is one? But then again, the sample space is very small as this is only his third visit to the tournament. He lost to Paul Henri-Mathieu in the first qualifying round in 2017, and fell to Borna Coric in the second round last season on his main draw debut. Obviously, a lot has changed inside the last 12 months, particularly the last three months!
The man charged with the unenviable task of taking down Medvedev in Paris on Tuesday is local favourite, Jeremy Chardy, who confronts the Russian in a second round meeting on Court Central.
Chardy earned his shot at Medvedev with a 5-7 6-3 7-5 victory over Sam Querrey on Monday, striking 15 aces en route a two-hour seven-minute victory over the American. He had initially come through the qualifying rounds, defeating Albert Ramos-Vinolas and Corentin Moutet to earn his main draw berth. Chardy has been playing well over the last week, as he made the quarter finals at the Kremlin Cup in Moscow, where he took out Nicolas Jarry and Miomir before being edged out in a final-set tie break by Marin Cilic.
2019 started well enough for the Frenchman, who made the last four in Brisbane in the opening week of the year, but that remains his only semi-final this season. He has gone on to lose quarter finals in Montpellier, Bastad, Hamburg, Kitzbuhel, and most recently Moscow, squeezing out an even 26-26 record for the season prior to Paris.
His ranking has inevitably dipped in 2019 as a consequence of his indifferent results, going as low as 81st at the mid-way point of the season. The 32-year-old, who started the year inside the top-40 and reached as high as 33rd, is now ranked 65th in the world.
It is worth mentioning that Chardy made the third round at Masters 1000 tournaments in Miami and Madrid, and will attempt to replicate that run by beating Daniil Medvedev on Tuesday. However, he has never been past the second round of the Paris Masters in his nine previous attempts.
He has beaten Medvedev before, at Queen’s in 2018, but Medvedev, who evened the head-to-head with victory in Rotterdam earlier this year, is a completely different beast these days.
If Chardy is to pull off the spectacular upset, he’s got to absolutely redline his weapons- the serve and the forehand- but he’ll still need Medvedev to have an off-day even at that. The match-up doesn’t favour him, but then again, the Medvedev match-up hasn’t favoured anyone in the last few months. The world No. 4 can repel Chardy’s offence with his incredible defence, and when he does go on the attack, it will be extremely hard for Chardy to stop him, especially if as expected, Medvedev concentrates the traffic on the Frenchman’s less reliable backhand wing.
Daniil Medvedev vs Jeremy Chardy is live from Paris on Tuesday, 29 October from 7:30pm local time/ 6:30pm GMT