Medvedev, Thiem set for US Open semifinal clash

Tennis

NEW YORK — Daniil Medvedev, the 2019 US Open men’s runner-up, is back in the semifinals at Flushing Meadows for the second year in a row.

The third-seeded Medvedev beat longtime pal Andrey Rublev 7-6 (6), 6-3, 7-6 (5) in an all-Russian quarterfinal Wednesday. He is set for a date with second-seeded Dominic Thiem, a 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 winner over Alex De Minaur.

The other men’s semifinal will be No. 5 Alexander Zverev vs. No. 20 Pablo Carreno Busta.

Medvedev has not dropped a set in the tournament so far and never faced a break point against No. 10 seed Rublev.

The only concern for Medvedev in the latter stages was whether his body would hold up — he was dealing with cramps and needed his right shoulder massaged by a trainer in the third set — but he did, indeed, hold on.

“It was tough at the end,” Medvedev said. “I felt like I could get in trouble.”

He took 51 of 57 points when his first serve went in, never faced a break point and wound up with a 51-23 edge in total winners.

In all, through five matches, Medvedev has won 65 of his 68 service games, saving six of nine break points.

It’s been 60 years since a man won this Grand Slam tournament without ceding a set; Neale Fraser did so in 1960 at the event then known as the U.S. Championships.

A year after losing to Rafael Nadal in a five-set US Open final that lasted nearly five hours, Medvedev heads to his second career major semifinal.

Medvedev vs. Rublev pivoted in the first-set tiebreaker, which Rublev led 5-1, then 6-3. But Rublev started losing points and then his cool, slamming his racket down during the change of ends at 6-all. Medvedev’s five-point, set-clinching run culminated with a 128 mph ace.

In the second set, Rublev leaned over and screamed and was given a warning for an audible obscenity, although he told chair umpire James Keothavong that he didn’t curse.

At the changeover, Rublev told Keothavong, “You understand, because of your mistake, now they give me a fine?”

None of the remaining players has won a Grand Slam title.

It’s an unusual look for the final four left on the men’s side. Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic are not in the semifinals. Nadal and Federer did not play and Djokovic, the top seed, was kicked out of the US Open for accidentally hitting a line judge in the throat with a tennis ball.

Thiem says once he steps on the court “the other three are forgotten anyway.”

Thiem is still on the hunt for his first major championship after two losses in the French Open final and a defeat this year at the Australian Open.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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