Daniil Medvedev closes in on No. 1 ranking; Naomi Osaka at the Miami Semi-Finals


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Daniil Medvedev is one win away from returning to No. 1. And Naomi Osaka is two wins away from being tournament champion again.

After a slow start, top-seeded Medvedev reached the quarterfinals of the Miami Open on Tuesday beating Jenson Brooksby of the United States 7-5, 6-1.

Medvedev is yet to drop a set in his three matches in Miami. He will face No. 8 seed and defending champion Miami Hubert Hurkacz in the quarters – and if Medvedev prevails there he will be guaranteed to supplant Novak Djokovic and return to world No. 1.

“I’m not the kind of guy who’s going to say, ‘Yeah, I’m the best,'” Medvedev said.

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Daniil Medvedev of Russia returns a shot from Jenson Brooksby, during the Miami Open tennis tournament on Tuesday, March 29, 2022, in Miami Gardens, Florida.
(AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

The computer could tell him soon enough. The Russian held the No.1 ranking briefly, lost it again to Djokovic about a week ago and is now closing in on capturing it again.

Brooksby took an immediate lead, breaking Medvedev’s first service game and eventually serving for the opening set – two points at 5-4, 30-15.

It was all Medvedev from there.

Medvedev took 11 of the remaining 13 points in the set, breaking Brooksby to equalise, holding at 6-5 and then breaking again to complete the 7-5 victory. The second set was never in doubt as Medvedev took a 3-0 lead and won 16 of the 19 points served on his serve.

“Jenson has the potential to be a top player,” Medvedev said. “When you say best, you never know – No.1, No.3 or No.10 – but he’s a very good player and I think he’s playing better than his rating.”

Hurkacz beat Harris 7-6(3), 6-2 and improved to 11-1 all-time in Miami.

Germany’s No. 2 Alexander Zverev and Norway’s No. 6 Casper Ruud will face off in another quarter-final. Zverev beat Thanasi Kokkinakis of Australia 6-4, 6-4, while Ruud ousted 10th seed Cameron Norrie of Great Britain 6-3, 6-4.

No. 9 Italian Jannik Sinner also qualified, beating Australian Nick Kyrgios 7-6 (3), 6-3. Kyrgios was docked a point, then a game, for outbursts.

Sinner will face Argentinian Francisco Cerundolo in the quarter-finals. Cerundolo beat 28th-placed American Frances Tiafoe 6-7(2), 7-6(3) on Tuesday – avenging Tiafoe’s third-round victory over her brother, Juan Manuel Cerundolo.

And the men’s fourth quarter-final will see No.14 Carlos Alcaraz take on unseeded Miomir Kecmanovic – both of whom pulled off the upset on Tuesday. Alcaraz beat number 3 Stefanos Tsitsipas 7-5, 6-3. Kecmanovic ousted number 13 Taylor Fritz in the last drink, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4.

In the women’s quarter-final, unseeded Osaka – who haven’t won a tournament since the 2021 Australian Open – made quick work of No. 9 Danielle Collins of the United States. The former world No. 1 needed just an hour to beat Collins 6-2, 6-1 and made the Miami semi-finals for the first time.

“It’s my childhood tournament and I would love to win here,” said Osaka, who spent part of her youth in South Florida. “I have to do it one round at a time.”

Collins – who was suffering from neck pain – required medical time off during the game.

“She’s a fighter,” Osaka said. “She fought all game long.”

Next up for Osaka: No. 22 Belinda Bencic, who like Osaka continued her journey throughout the tournament.

Bencic is yet to face a seeded player and hasn’t come close to dropping a set, advancing to the semis with a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Daria Saville.

Bencic won 48 of the 65 matches she played in the tournament.

“I’m really happy to have achieved a great result here,” Bencic said. “Everything else is bonus.”


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