Daniil Medvedev ends World Nr 1 Jannik Sinner's run to reach semi finals

Before his quarter-final against Jannik SinnerDaniil Medvedev might have pondered whether to smuggle a bulldozer into his racket bag for the battle ahead.

On a five-match losing streak against the world No.1 (including this year’s Australian Open final when he gave away a two-set lead), Medvedev faced the further mission of snapping the Halle champion’s nine-strong victory run on grass.

So it was extraordinary enough that Medvedev won it 6-7(7), 6-4, 7-6(4), 2-6, 6-3, to reach the semi-finals for the second successive year. But the mere scoreline describes nothing of the superlative quality and dreadful error and an 11-minute pause for illness and the swings in momentum and the possible injury and Uncle Tom Cobley and all.

Global supplies of improbable twists and turns are in sudden drought after this Centre Court rollercoaster. Quite frankly, we all need a good lie down.

“This is my first time winning two matches on the Centre Court so this is a record already,” smiled Medvedev, who defeated Alexandre Muller in the second round on the great stage.

“You can’t beat Jannik easy. At one moment he was not feeling good but I knew that could change. You want to make him suffer a bit more – in a good way. But everything is well when it ends well, so I’m pretty happy.”

The first set was so tight and of such high quality that it was impossible to know how it would pan out. Each notched up love holds, the statistical simplicity of which belied the frequent long rallies within.

Having declared his disgust with his own non-display in their most recent encounter (won by Sinner in Miami for the loss of three games), Medvedev was determined to guard against the set moving away from him. In the umpire’s chair Nico Helwerth removed his jacket, as if nodding to the heat of the contest.

The inevitable tie-break was a tale of key errors. Up a hard-earned mini-break, Medvedev gave it back with a double fault. Sinner delivered a double of his own to gift set point on his opponent’s serve, only for Medvedev to muff a not particularly testing Sinner return.

But the very worst arrived on Sinner’s second set point, when Medvedev double-faulted again.

Yet in the second, it was the No.5 seed who forced the first break points of this match. Having conceded the breach, Sinner seemed to limp – the legacy, perhaps, of a scrabbling slide during the tie-break.

As the latest deluge battered the Centre Court roof (because in a world first this Fortnight, it was raining), Sinner was having to work harder to stand still even though the marathon rallies were fewer.

Near unrecognisable as the intense combatant of the first set, he flexed his left ankle, grimaced a little and looked to his box as Medvedev served it out.


Broken for 1-2, Sinner at last called the trainer. Yet instead of indicating an injury, he described something which prompted his oxygen level to be monitored and his pulse to be taken. Clutching his brow and looking clammy, Sinner left the court with the medical staff. No medical timeout was announced.

Eleven minutes after the last point, play resumed.

Abruptly Sinner sprang out of his sickbed and began reeling off points. Still, Medvedev had only to serve it out for a two-set-to-one lead, yet his errors forbade it. Fending off two set points against him, the No.5 staggered over the line in the tie-break.



But Sinner was right back in it. His drop shot missed at times throughout this joust, but when it landed it was lethal, and it earned him the break at the start of the fourth. Off he romped into the decider, all the momentum with him, with the history of the last five matches between these two along for the ride.

He was winning 85% of points on his first serve, and 100% on his second – yet this was the serve that wavered at the start of the decider. Medvedev had his wobbles, but none of them crucial.

Seven titles in 11 months have propelled Sinner to the world No.1 spot. But he will not win Wimbledon this year. Exactly on four hours, Medvedev put away the winner.

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