WHAT HAPPENED: There’s ample reason for the hype. With his sweeping one-handed backhand and freeform flair, Great Greek Hope Stefanos Tsitsipas, 20, recently became the youngest player to defeat four Top-10 opponents in succession since the creation of the ATP World Tour in 1990, reaching the Toronto final. But as we saw on Wednesday at the US Open, the fast-rising Athenian still has a way to go when it comes to bringing his best tennis at the majors.
Facing 36th-ranked Russian Daniil Medvedev in front of a capacity Court 10 crowd, Tsitsipas was eliminated in two hours and 48 minutes, 6-4, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3.
It was their first meeting since their heated first-round encounter earlier this year in Miami. Medvedev prevailed in three sets, 2-6, 6-4, 6-2, and immediately after the post-match handshake appeared to question his opponent’s ability to fight. The chair ump even had to step in to restrain the Russian.
Tsitsipas — at No. 15 the highest seed to make a US Open debut since Frenchman Richard Gasquet (No. 13) in 2005 — did indeed show some fight in the opening set on Day 3 in Flushing Meadows. Serving at 4-all, he fended off four straight break points. However, his opponent would make good on the fifth, then consolidate for the set.
Medvedev, who arrived in New York with a career-high ranking on the heels of capturing his second ATP title in Winston Salem, maintained that momentum in the second set, moving ahead with a service break in the third game.
Tsitsipas frequently chided himself aloud in his native tongue. The self-administered pep talks might have done him some good. Service breaks in the seventh and ninth games of the third set would help him narrow the gap.
Neither player found much in the way of rhythm following the mandatory 10-minute heat-rule break prior to the fourth set. There were three consecutive service breaks in the final stanza before Medvedev finally held serve to move ahead 4-1. Four games later he was into the third round, matching his career-best showing at a major (2018 Wimbledon). The 22-year-old Medvedev surrendered just eight of his first-serve points (44-for-52) over four sets, and smacked eight aces. Tsitsipas, meanwhile, amassed 64 unforced errors and converted just three of eight break points.
WHAT IT MEANS: Medvedev moves on to face Borna Coric in the third round. The former #NextGen poster boy defeated Spain’s Roberto Carballes Baena, 7-6, 6-2, 6-3. Medvedev is 1-2 against the Croatian in FedEx ATP Head2Head encounters, including a second-round loss in Cincinnati earlier this month.
MATCH POINT: Medvedev’s maiden ATP title came earlier this year in Sydney, where, as a qualifier, he reeled off seven straight wins to secure the 250-level event.