Saturday, March 25, 2023

Daniil Medvedev enters the final of Halle from Oscar Otte. ATP Tour

Daniil Medvedev’s impressive grass-court form continued at the Terra Wortmann Open in Halle on Saturday, where top-seeded past home favorite Oscar Otte advanced to his second consecutive ATP Tour Finals.

The World No. 1 won the semi-finals 7-6(3), 6-3 in his first ATP Head2Head meeting with World No.51 Otte after going down a set point in the opening set. It is the second tour-level final for Medvedev in as many weeks on the grass, having attended the championship match at the Liebma Open in ‘s-Hertogenbosch’ six days earlier.

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Last year in Halle, Medvedev lost in the first round at the start of the tournament to another German, Jan-Lenard Struff. Since that defeat, the world No. 1 is 14-2 on grass, a tally that includes a title at the 2021 Mallorca Championships.

“I didn’t play well in Halle last year, so I’m glad I managed to raise my level this year,” Medvedev said after the semi-final win. “As I have always said, I love to play on grass, so I am happy to show myself that I am capable of reaching the finals of one of the greatest tournaments of all time, especially on grass, and of course I am waiting for tomorrow.”

In Sunday’s final, Medvedev will face fifth seed Hubert Herkaz or wild card Nick Kyrgios as he chases down the second grass-court title of his career.

Medvedev saved all 17 break points he faced in his opening three games in Halle this week, and was under pressure again after a sharp start from Otte at the OWL Arena. The world No. 1 once again found accuracy and power in his delivery to stave off two break points in the second and fourth games of the match, but after having saved 22 consecutive break points after Otte earned a break for his aggressive play. The streak ended. 5-3.

Excited home spectators felt another upset from world No. 51 Ote, who had already defeated top 30 players Miomir Kekmanovic, Nikoloz Basilashvili and Karen Khachanov in the semi-finals at the start of the tournament in Halle. However, nerves began to show for the German as he served for the set. A double-fault at set point at 40/30 proved costly as Medvedev was determined to retrieve the break before completing the turnaround with five consecutive points at 2/3 in the tie-break.

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Taking the lead, Medvedev appeared to free the game, and the 26-year-old dominated in the second set as he began to find rhythm with his groundstrokes. The world No. 1 won the sixth game an hour, 37 minutes behind the break, which was backed by a more powerful serve.

When Medvedev was asked how his level improved during the match, he said, “I was not playing well at the beginning of the match.” “I was missing a lot of shots. The service was not really that bad, but I was missing a lot of shots.

“I managed to convert it by the end of the first set, especially in the tie-break. That’s when I started missing less, started playing more aggressively and got depth on my ball. The second set I continued the whole time, and that was enough to break him once and get the second set. ,

Despite his race ending in Halle, Otte will be pleased with his performance in his homeland this week. The 28-year-old has now reached three tour-level semifinals in 2022, and his latest run has taken him to number 37 in the Pepperstone ATP Live rankings.

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