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Defending champ Medvedev sees off Gaston to reach Paris semi-final

Daniil Medvedev weathered an early storm, saving three set points in the opening set, before finishing off upstart Hugo Gaston on Friday in Paris.

Daniil Medvedev 2021 Paris Masters joie de Daniil Medvedev (Rus) || 211681_0257 2021 ATP master1000 MASTERS masters1000 paris rolex spo sport tennis
  • What happened: Daniil Medvedev booked his spot in the Paris semi-final with a straight-set win over Hugo Gaston.
  • Why it matters: Medvedev stays alive in the hunt to reach the year-end No 1 ranking.
  • You will also learn: How the numbers express Medvedev’s indoor dominance over the last 52 weeks

ATP1000 Paris | Draw | Schedule | Quarter-finals

Hugo Gaston was one easy forehand from winning the first set from Daniil Medvedev on Friday at the Paris Masters but the 21-year-old Frenchman didn’t take his opportunity and quickly unraveled as Medvedev stormed to a 7-6(7), 6-4 victory to increase his run of victories in Paris to eight.

“The way Gaston plays here, I knew I had to play my best tennis,” Medvedev said on court after the match. “That’s a Davis Cup atmosphere. The first set, it’s a miracle. That’s why we love tennis.”

Perhaps it was the disappointment of failing to close what was a very winnable opening set, or pure fatigue, that set Gaston back in the second set. Surely, the quality of his opponent had much to do with the way the match turned as well.

Medvedev has been on a torrid run indoors since winning the title in Paris last year and he has now won 18 of 19 matches indoors over the last year. He took everything Gaston threw his way and remained stoic in the face of adversity late in the opening set, when Gaston had three set points while serving from 5-4, 40-0.

Medvedev – “That’s tennis”

Medvedev would later admit that good fortune had a lot to do with surviving the first set.

“On one of the set points, he’s serving on the line,” he said, referring to the first of his three set points. “I think it’s an ace. I make an attempt with my hand, I touch it, it’s in, and then I win the set. That’s tennis.”

That it wasn’t meant to be in the end for Gaston may have more to do with Medvedev’s ability to deliver world-class tennis in a hostile environment than any shortcoming from the Frenchman’s side of the net. Gaston played extremely well except for the first four games of the second set and can hold his head high in defeat.

It has been a breakthrough week for the world No 103. On Thursday the Toulouse native wowed the French faithful when he rallied from 5-0 down in the second set to finish off an epic victory over Carlos Alcaraz, 6-4, 7-5.

On Friday Gaston pushed again in the second set, rallying from 4-0 down to 4-3, and he continued the pressure as he pushed Medvedev to deuce while the Russian served for the victory at 5-4; but this time in place of the inexperienced Alcaraz there was a more menacing, steely figure there to ensure the comeback was stopped in its tracks.

Medvedev calmly saw his way through to the finish line, closing out his triumph in one hour and 45 minutes, and setting a semi-final with either Alexander Zverev or Casper Ruud on Saturday in Bercy.

Aces made a difference

Medvedev had a significant advantage from the service stripe as he hammered 13 aces to just 1 for Gaston. The final stats show that the Russian only won nine more points than Gaston over the course of the match. Medvedev topped out at 211 KM/H with his serve, while Gaston’s fastest serve was 190 KM/H.

The Russian’s average first-serve speed was 197 KM/H, much faster than Gaston’s (166 KM/H).

The Russian finished with 30 winners to 19 for Gaston, and he won 18 of 25 net points to help his cause. He improves to 53-11 on the season and 9-2 lifetime at the Paris Masters.

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