The top seed Daniil Medvedev had a tough day at the office in the Miami Open third round. The young Aussie Alexei Popyrin pushed the favorite to the limits and fended off three match points in the second set before Daniil prevailed 7-6, 6-7, 6-4 after two hours and 37 minutes. The Russian had massive problems with cramps in the encounter’s closing stages, taking a medical timeout and barely keeping the break until the end to cross the finish line and bring the victory home. The Russian could have avoided those issues after opening a 5-2 advantage in the second set, but he got broken in game nine and squandered three match points in the next one to keep Popyrin alive. The Aussie maintained his focus and survived those match points before taking the tie break 9-7 to force a decider. The Russian grabbed a break in the final set’s seventh game and struggled in the remaining ones before taking it 6-4 to advance into the last 16.
Daniil Medvedev barely survived the third-round clash in Miami.
“The end of the match was very painful. I felt that my legs were not following me in some rallies anymore. I only thought about not falling; I do not think I would stand up if I did. There were moments where I wanted to lay down and quit, but I could not accept that and kept fighting. After earning that break at 3-3 in the decider, I felt the biggest pain. I experienced that only a couple of times before, barely standing it. My serve did not work well in this match, but I have to say that it saved me in those moments. I feel fine now; two hours have passed as I got my treatment and took some rest. The legs are usually sore after the cramping, but I have a day off tomorrow, and it should be fine.
I could barely walk when we finished, making small steps as my legs hurt a lot. I knew the serve was the key in those last games, and it worked well. It was not easy for Alexei, on the other hand, to finish on the losing side despite having his chances against an injured opponent. I should have won in straight sets, and nothing of this would have happened. It was a huge relief when I converted the fourth match point; it was essential mentally, and it means a lot to me. I could not find my first serve in the essential points; it was windy, and my toss went everywhere. Still, I found the rhythm in the last couple of service games, and my initial shot carried me through. The more you play, the better you feel in certain conditions; I’m sure I will improve my level against Lajovic or Tiafoe,” Daniil Medvedev said.