“Should have won it”: Medvedev rues mistakes in second set of US Open final

Daniil Medvedev failed to win a 104 minute second set in the US Open final, despite playing his best tennis and having a set point

Daniil Medvedev US Open 2023 (Antoine Couvercelle _ Panoramic) (Antoine Couvercelle / Panoramic)
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Daniil Medvedev and Novak Djokovic played one of the most remarkable sets of tennis in the US Open final on Sunday, with the second set of the match lasting more than an hour and 40 minutes.

Despite playing some of his best tennis, world No 3 Medvedev failed to win the set, with Djokovic claiming it in a tiebreaker. After the match, Medvedev has explained that his inability to win the second set was a turning point in the US Open final, and rues some of the strategic mistakes he made across the set.

“Oh, regrets, for sure. Should have won it,” said Medvedev.

“I was all over him” – Medvedev on his second set performance

Leading 6-5 in the second set, Daniil Medvedev had a shot at levelling the match at a set apiece when he faced a passing shot opportunity at 30-40 on Novak Djokovic’s serve.

Fire up the line, and he would have won the set—and with Djokovic struggling physically across the 104 minute set, who knows how the match would have panned out. Instead, Medvedev went cross court, and Djokovic volleyed a winner for deuce, going on to win the game and force a tiebreaker that he won 7-5.

“Should have won it, but sometimes tennis not that easy. Passing for sure down the line, not cross, but I have two choices and I chose the wrong one,” Medvedev said with a wry smile after the match.

The Russian made it clear that he had many regrets about the second set, one in which he felt he played his best tennis, but did not win.

“In general, yeah, second set was the best set I played and I didn’t win it. So that’s why I kind of, I would say, it’s normal that the match went that way, because first and third he was kind of better and not much to say. Second if I would win it maybe could have been a different game,” said the US Open finalist.

“Pity that I didn’t win the second set because I felt like I was let’s call it all over him, like I was dominating in a way.”

Medvedev regrets not adjusting return position

While Daniil Medvedev returned brilliantly against Carlos Alcaraz in the pair’s US Open semi-final, against Novak Djokovic he failed to adapt his return position, despite the Serbian consistently finding success with the serve and volley.

“Was a little bit stubborn on return,” said Medvedev after the match. “I probably should have changed my position and stuff like this, but I had the feeling that it’s gonna work like this and I’m going to make it work because I was a little bit returning worse than let’s say with Carlos.

“When the set was over, I was like, yeah, I was too stubborn, I should have done differently,” reflected Medvedev, before explaining his thought process during the match.

“I tried to change in my mind what I was doing on return, like either going a little bit high or low or line, cross. I just didn’t manage to put the ball in the court many times or to put the ball where I wanted to.

“So that was different that with Carlos I managed to be good returning from far, and that’s what I’m good at. I don’t really care too much if the guy is serving and volleying. It makes it a little bit tougher but he has to do it good. Novak first of all does it good, so that’s the first part.

“And then the second part is that I didn’t manage to return well enough, and I don’t want to say because of him. It was more of myself and I should have been less stubborn and go forward earlier in the match, because I only started doing it a little bit in the third set.”

The Russian went on to explain that he believed his level in the second set was equal to what he showed against Alcaraz on Friday, making it even more frustrating that he failed to capitalise.

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