Medvedev loses cool but lifts Russia to semis

SYDNEY — Daniil Medvedev was docked a point for twice banging the umpire’s chair with his racket in a heated second set before he recovered to secure Russia’s semifinal spot at the ATP Cup with a win over Argentine opponent Diego Schwartzman.

The fourth-ranked Medvedev blamed the meltdown on jet lag from Russia’s cross-continental journey from Perth to Sydney — including an overnight stop in Melbourne — between the group stage and the quarterfinals.

He said he expected to get a fine for the code violation but otherwise was satisfied to win the “super tough match” 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 on Thursday to secure Russia’s win over Argentina before the doubles. Karen Khachanov had given Russia the lead when he beat Guido Pella 6-2, 7-6 (4).

“I didn’t have anything near me to hit at than the chair … so just hit one thing with the racket,” he said. “I got a code violation, which I deserve — the second one is no question. Then we moved on.”

There were some other positives, Medvedev said, listing the fact that the he didn’t damage the chair, injure anybody or break his racket when he hit Mohamed Lahyani’s chair in a heated exchange after dropped serve in the seventh game of the second set.

The Russians spent the afternoon watching the broadcast of Australia’s 2-1 win over Britain in the first of the quarterfinal matches, when Alex de Minaur and Nick Kyrgios combined to edge Jamie Murray and Joe Salisbury 3-6, 6-3, 18-16 on their fifth match point.

The tension in the night matches started at the end of the first set. Medvedev had set point on serve but was broken in a game lasting more than eight minutes. He broke back to win the set but then exchanged words with Schwartzman as both players went to their team zones at each end of the court.

Lahyani got out of his umpire’s chair to get between the players, and later gave Medvedev a code violation for unsporting conduct for going on with the verbal exchange.

Seven games later, Medvedev approached the chair to get clarification on the code violation. He tapped the umpire’s chair and was warned for it, and then hit again and got a point penalty, meaning Schwartzman started the next game with a 15-0 lead.

Medvedev said he got the second code violation for arguing about the first one, “because I didn’t hear it.”

“I will probably talk to Mohamed to see why I got it, because I don’t know why I got it,” Medvedev said.

Schwartzman held on to his break and leveled the match on his fifth set point. But Medvedev, who lost an almost five-hour US Open final to Rafael Nadal last year, regained his composure in the third set, cut down his errors and got the vital break in the eighth game.

Russia team captain Marat Safin said the tennis was “high-class” and commended Medvedev for blocking out the distractions.

“It was important for him to stay mentally strong. Just hold on to what he can,” Safin said. “Give the best and see what’s going to come. And not to go too crazy, and not to rush with the approach shots, or hitting the ball too hard.

“You have to be smart, and sometimes squeeze yourself together and maintain self-calm.”

Medvedev went 3-0 in his singles matches as Russia swept all three group games in Perth, but he had a tougher time against Schwartzman, who produced the win against Croatia on Wednesday in Sydney that propelled Argentina into the quarterfinals.

Now the Russians will meet the winner of Friday’s quarterfinal between Serbia and Canada.

Britain had four match points in the doubles. The one that Murray won’t forget was at 11-10, when he had an almost open court in front of him but somehow sent a backhand long.

“I missed that shot basically on top of the net, which was ridiculous,” Murray said. “That will hurt. I’ll probably never miss it again in my career. But today I missed it, and that cost us.”

Source Link