Chennai Open: Medvedev halts Kovalik's run

Daniil Medvedev came off the blocks faster and got two early breaks to rush to a 4-0 lead. His big serves and strong backhands proved to be too good for Jozef Kovalik.

S. R. Raghunathan

Daniil Medvedev makes a return to Jozef Kovalik in the quarterfinals of the Chennai Open. Medvedev won in straight sets.   -  S. R. Raghunathan

Jozef Kovalik, who had stunned World No. 6 Marin Cilic in the second round, was beaten in the quarterfinals by Russia’s Daniil Medvedev 6-1, 6-4 in straight sets. With this win, Medvedev progressed to his first ever ATP semifinal.

Medvedev came off the blocks faster and got two early breaks to rush to a 4-0 lead. His big serves and strong backhands proved to be too good for Kovalik. The Russian hit eight aces in the match.

However, in the second set Kovalik put up more of a fight, and even got a break to lead 3-2. Medevedev waited for his chances, and broke back to make it 4-4. At this point the match was closely poised, but the next game proved crucial. They were some controversial calls throughout the match, and both the players seemed frustrated. At 4-4, with Medvedev serving, there was a controversial line call when Kovalik was 30-40 up. Kovalik lost his concentration and with it the point.

That call was still playing on Kovalik's mind and Medvedev took full advantage of it to break the Slovak and take the game 6-4.

Kovalik said after the game that the call affected his game and concentration. "Yes, there were some bad decisions out there and I let my concentration slip a bit. I have to work harder to ensure this doesn’t happen in the future. But overall I’m very happy with the tournament I have had.”

Medvedev was pleased with his performance, and said it was a tough game. “I am happy with my performance, now its my first ever ATP semifinal, I’m pumped up and looking forward to it.”

About the decisions, he said: "Bad decisions are a part and parcel of the game. Both of us got some decisions which didn’t go our way, but I didn’t let that affect my performance.”