Russian World No.5 Daniil Medvedev won a nervy last-four tie against Canadian Milos Raonic to book a place in the final of Rolex Paris Masters on Friday. Medvedev will take on the winner of the second semi-final between top-seed Rafael Nadal and 4th-seed Alexander Zverev in the title clash.
Signaling his intent, Raonic fired an ace to close out the opening game. Medvedev responded well with a confident service game. Just as he had done in both sets in the quarterfinal clash against Argentine Diego Schwartzman, the Russian broke Raonic in the fifth game and won the following game on serve to open up a 4-2 lead.
The Russian didn’t lose a single point on first serve, while the Canadian fared poorly on that score, winning only 77% of points on his first serve.
With Raonic failing to break back, Medvedev served out the opening set 6-4.
While Raonic sent down six aces to Medvedev’s one, the Russian outgunned his opponent in terms of total points won in the first set. Medvedev won 31 points to Raonic’s 22.
The Canadian scored three break-points off the Russian in the eighth game of the second set. However, Medvedev managed to hold serve and level the score at 4-4. Even as both players kept pushing for a break of serve, it was Raonic who blinked again, conceding the eleventh game.
With Medvedev 6-5 to the good, he only had to serve out the next game to enter the final. However, Raonic seized back the momentum quite spectacularly as he broke the Russian in the next game.
However, the momentum shifted again as Medvedev opened up a 4-0 lead in the second set tie-break. Though Raonic managed to win back a couple of points, the Russian held on to his lead to take the tie-break and the second set 7-6.
Seeded third in the Masters, Medvedev went into the last-four tie with supreme confidence and belief.
Having trounced Schwartzman in straight sets in the quaterfinal, Medvedev was seen as the clear favorite in the clash with Raonic. However, Raonic, a former finalist at the Masters, was no easy opponent for the Russian, even on current form.
A player with a big serve and a wealth of experience at major ATP events, Raonic has been in his elements at Bercy this year.
He had finished on the winning side of a closely contested quarterfinal against local favorite Ugo Humbert on Friday.
A three-time finalist at Masters events, Raonic took the opening set without much trouble but ran into a more determined Humbert thereafter. Stung by the opening set loss, the unseeded Frenchman came roaring back into the contest, winning the second set by a similar margin.
The deciding set went into a tie-breaker before the lanky Canadian prevailed 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (9-7). However, the Russian had no such trouble against the ninth-ranked Argentine as he put up a dominant display on his way to a 6-3, 6-1 win.
However, despite his loss, Schwartzman booked himself a slot in the main draw of the ATP Tour Finals.
The Russian holds a clear head-to-head advantage over Raonic, winning both the matches they have played so far. In their last meeting at Brisbane International in 2019, Medvedev had come back from a set down to post a win over the Canadian.