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    Sunday, September 25, 2022

    Daniil Medvedev rounding into form in time as U.S. Open looms

    Daniil Medvedev of Russia reacts after scoring a point against Taylor Fritz of the United States during a quarterfinal match at the Western & Southern Open on Friday in Mason, Ohio. (Jeff Dean/AP Photo)
    Caroline Garcia of France celebrates defeating Jessica Pegula of the United States during the Western & Southern Open on Friday. (Aaron Doster/AP Photo)
    Taylor Fritz of the United States returns a shot to Daniil Medvedev of Russia during a quarterfinal match at the Western & Southern Open. (Jeff Dean/AP Photo)

    Mason, Ohio — Top-ranked Daniil Medvedev moved into the Western & Southern Open semifinals Friday as he prepares for his U.S. Open title defense, beating 11th-seeded Taylor Fritz 7-6 (1), 6-3.

    Medvedev, the 26-year-old Russian banned from Wimbledon for his country’s invasion of Ukraine, won the 2019 Western & Southern Open. He looked sharper Friday than he did last week in Montreal in a round-of-32 loss to Nick Kyrgios.

    Medvedev will face No. 7 Stefanos Tsitsipas in the semifinals. Tsitsipas outlasted John Isner 7-6 (5), 5-7, 6-3.

    “Sometimes, first rounds in Masters are super tough,” Medvedev said. “Like I had Kyrgios in Montreal. Every match is a test, and so far, I have been doing great here. Usually, the conditions here are quite similar to the U.S. Open, and when I do well here, I play good in the U.S. Open, so so far, it’s looking this way.”

    Unseeded American Madison Keys, also a 2019 winner in the event, advanced to the women's semifinals with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina. Keys has not dropped a set in four matches, including her upset of top-ranked Iga Swiatek in the round of 16.

    Keys will face two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, who cruised past Ajla Tomljanovic, 6-2, 6-3. The unseeded Kvitova, ranked 28th, will be Keys’ third consecutive opponent with a Grand Slam title to her credit.

    “I think that’s just how tennis is,” Keys said. “We have plenty of players who are not seeded or in the low (rankings) teens who have been on a tear all year, and they are still, in my opinion, top players or they are former champions. I just don’t think that there is any easy draw, even if you’re not playing the No. 1 or 2 player.”

    Sixth-seeded Aryna Sabalenka beat Shuai Zhang 6-4, 7-6 (1).

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