Don't miss any stories Follow Tennis View

Bautista Agut Handcuffs Medvedev to Reach Halle Semis

Jun 26th 2023

RBA handcuffs Medvedev 7-5, 7-6 to reach semis in Halle

On the chewed-up center court in Halle, Germany they battled for the seventh time. Roberto Bautista Agut from Spain has had a lackluster season with a win/loss record of 14/14. The thirty-five-year-old former world #9 was in search of his second semi of the season. The 11-time tour level champion led the head-to-head 4-2 including a straights sets win on grass last season in Mallorca.

Daniil Medvedev leads the tour with forty-one match wins this season and is currently ranked third. The former world #1 reached the final last year in Halle (l. Hurkacz) and was seeded first this week at the ATP 500 event. Despite a losing head-to-head record versus the Spaniard, he triumphed in straights last year at the same event.

RBA won the toss and elected to serve. He opened with a crosscourt forehand volley winner but faced break point and dumped serve following two consecutive errors. Medvedev donated a double fault, faced triple break point, and gave back the break when his opponent ripped a forehand inside-in.

RBA made 4/4 first serves and held at love for 2-1 and Medvedev returned the favor to level. The Spaniard struck two outstanding winners for another love hold while his opponent gifted another double fault but held for 3-3 with his first ace.

RBA pummeling the ball off both wings, hit four winners including another forehand inside-in to secure the game. Medvedev matched his opponent with pace, acute angles, and stellar defense. The 2021 US Open champion held easily to 15 for 4-4 with an ace out wide.

RBA opened the 9th with a well-struck serve and backhand volley down the line and closed with a spectacular crosscourt forehand. Medvedev opened with an ace up the tee and held at love for 5-5 while RBA made 4/5 first serves and held easily to 15.

Medvedev serving to force the breaker led 40-30 but following three unforced errors including his third double fault, faced two deuce, set point, and capitulated with another unforced error.

The Spaniard served first in the second and with two volley winners, held at love. The Russian gifted two consecutive forehand errors, faced two deuce and two break points but with an ace out wide and an unreturnable up the tee, managed to hold for 1-1.

RBA in the zone and lockdown mode, struck two forehand winners and held easily to 15 for 2-1 while Medvedev opened with an ace and held after facing deuce. RBA opened the fifth with two consecutive winners and held easily to 15 for 3-2 while Medvedev missed 5/10 first serves, faced two deuce and break point yet leveled.

RBA brimming with confidence, held to 30 following an exhilarating and extended rally while Medvedev donated another double fault but held to 15 for 4-4. RBA continued to rip his groundstrokes and finish points at the net but faced two deuce and break point before holding for 5-5 while the Medvedev serving to stay in the match, held to 30 with an ace up the tee.

RBA missed 3/5 first serves but with a fantastic forehand down the line and overhead smash, held to 15 for 6-5. Medvedev struck his 11th ace and with an incredible inside-out forehand, forced the tiebreak.

RBA opened with an extraordinary inside-out forehand while Medvedev hit his 12th ace to level. The Spaniard then raced to a 4-1 lead before the Russian reached 3-4. The #1 seed missed long with the return and faced triple match point after his opponent nailed a forehand volley. The world #23 needed just one; with an easy forehand put away he closed out the breaker and the match.

It was an extremely hard-hitting, hard-fought  quarterfinal. Medvedev finished with 12 aces and 4 double faults. He won 72% of first and 43% of second serve points and converted 1/2 break points while saving 5/7. Although he hit more winners (14/12) and fewer errors (8/9), he was ineffective on second serve return points winning just 7/19.

The Spaniard was relentless and dialed-in from first ball. Although he did not hit an ace, he donated just one double fault. He won 79% of first and a remarkable 63% of second serve points and saved 1/2 break points while converting 2/7. He was equally impressive when returning, winning 28% of first and 57% of second serve return points.

RBA will battle another Russian in the semis – world #7 Andrey Rublev. The reigning Monte Carlo Masters champion took out the in-from dutchman Tallon Griekspoor in three to reach the penultimate round.

The semifinalists have split the 8 matches they’ve contested. RBA ten years Rublev’s senior, took their last match in three at the start of the season in Adelaide. This will be their first on grass with a final on the line.