NEW YORK (Reuters) – Russian Daniil Medvedev is finding little room at this year’s U.S. Open for comparison with his inspired run at Flushing Meadows in 2019, with players on the Tour adjusting after a shortened run-up to the Grand Slam.
Medvedev rode into last year’s tournament on a wave of acclaim, with three back-to-back ATP singles finals under his belt, before mounting a breathtaking – but ultimately unsuccessful – challenge to Rafa Nadal in a final that had a once sceptical crowd cheering his efforts.
But with a truncated season cut short by the new coronavirus outbreak – not to mention empty stands with spectators barred from the tennis grounds due to health and safety concerns – this year could scarcely be more different for Medvedev.
“Comparing to last year is impossible, because last year there was a full season. Coming to the U.S. Open I had two finals and one Masters title, my first Masters title,” he said.
“It’s completely different here,” the 24-year-old Russian told reporters after beating American J.J. Wolf for his third consecutive straight-sets victory to reach the fourth round.
Even so, his charmed run at last year’s U.S. Open is not yet too far back in the rear view mirror.
“Honestly I remember playing well there. That’s the most important. I remember winning great matches,” he added.
“So of course it gives me some confidence, because it’s still Arthur Ashe (court), even without the crowd, still Louis Armstrong,” he said. “So I’m happy to be back here.”
He next faces another American, Frances Tiafoe, who he leads 2-0 in head-to-head meetings.
(Reporting by Amy Tennery; Editing by Ken Ferris)