Tennis

Daniil Medvedev makes top-five debut after first Masters 1000 title in Cincinnati

Daniil Medvedev with the Cincinnati Masters title

Medvedev is a first-time Masters champion (Picture: Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Daniil Medvedev ended his US Open preparations in style on Sunday as he lifted his first Masters 1000 title in Cincinnati by defeating David Goffin 7-6 (7-3) 6-4.

The Russian had finished as runner-up in Washington and Montreal but went one further at the Western & Southern Open, ensuring he will make his top-five debut in the process.

Medvedevs maiden Masters crown will see him climb to world No. 5 and will further serve as a warning to those in New York that the 23-year-old – described by beaten opponent Goffin as a wall – is one of the most dangerous players on the planet.

His tour-leading 44 ATP wins in 2019 have seen him sat only behind Novak Djokovic – who he defeated in the semi-finals, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Dominic Thiem in both the regular rankings and the Race to London.

ATP rankings

1. Djokovic
2. Nadal
3. Federer
4. Thiem
5. Medvedev

Doubts could easily have crept into his mind heading into Sundays finale – Medvedev had lost four of his five tournament deciders this season – but after defeats to Nick Kyrgios and Nadal in the past month, the Russian claimed a much-deserved fifth career title.

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Its hard to find words, Medvedev said after the match. Its the hard work Ive been putting in.

It would not be good to lose three finals in a row, so Im really happy about this. I started cramping at 5-3, actually. It was the first time I cramped in three weeks. I made four serves he didnt return and it was unbelievable.

I have to say even if I wouldnt have finished with the trophy, [these weeks] were amazing and the best in my life. But of course I think with the trophy its better.

David Goffin gives his runners-up speech after losing to Daniil Medvedev in Cincinnati

David Goffin was runner-up (Picture: Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Especially if I would have lost three finals in a row, I would have not doubted myself but started asking myself, “How is it possible, three finals, lost all of them? What should I do differently in the final”? I dont have to ask myself these questions because I won the final. Its been the best weeks in my life.

Goffin was full of praise for his opponent and highlighted his unique style.

Hes super solid. He doesnt miss. Its like playing against a wall, the Belgian said. Just playing cross, cross, wait for the ball. His pace is not too fast, not too slow. Its quite a special pace to play against him. And then you receive bombs coming from his serve, and then he doesnt miss.

Thats why everybody is struggling, because hes so consistent, now with more confidence.

Past seven Masters 1000 winners

2019 Cincinnati: Medvedev
2019 Rogers Cup: Nadal
2019 Rome: Nadal
2019 Madrid: Djokovic
2019 Monte Carlo: Fognini
2019 Miami: Federer
2019 Indian Wells: Thiem
2018 Paris: Khachanov

While its a fine win for the 23-year-old and another important step in his career, the big challenge for him – and his fellow Next Gen stars – remains finding a breakthrough at Grand Slam level.

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