The slick, lean Daniil Medvedev is a brick wall from behind the baseline and has enough endurance to outlast anyone. It’s a key reason why the world number three is such a force on hardcourts, where he is a model of consistency and has reached four major finals in 2023.
On Monday at the China Open, he continued that trend, overcoming a mid-match wobble to beat Ugo Humbert 6-4 3-6 6-1 and advance to the semifinals. He will face a familiar foe in Germany’s Alexander Zverev, who beat Chile’s Nicolas Jarry 6-3 6-7 (5-7) 6-3.
Medvedev will play his fifth season match against Zverev, who is rediscovering form after a long injury layoff. The Russians have met twice this year, and Zverev won the pair’s most recent encounter in Chengdu.
But it wasn’t all smooth sailing for the third seed, who had to battle in the hot and humid Beijing conditions. In an error-strewn first set, Medvedev fought back from a 5-2 deficit to win a thrilling tie-break 7-6 (7/3), 6-2. The 27-year-old broke Humbert’s serve in the sixth game of the second to move ahead and sealed victory in a dominant straight sets encounter.
In the other semifinal match, fourth seed Novak Djokovic will take on world number 10 Ben Shelton in what should be an entertaining duel. Djokovic is yet to find his best form on the clay this season, and it may take time for him to get up to speed before the French Open. But he has been excellent on the hard courts, and in his two previous quarterfinals at the China Open this year, he has shown why he is a multiple-time Grand Slam winner.
Fourth seed Djokovic, runner-up at the US Open in August and a four-time finalist in the event has an outstanding record against Shelton. The 30-year-old has won the pair’s two previous meetings at the ATP Tour level and has a solid 6-2 head-to-head against the American.
Elsewhere, second-ranked Iga Swiatek stepped up to the challenge of playing on the fast surface in Beijing and advanced to the semifinals with a 6-4 6-3 win over Sara Sorribes Tormo. She will play eighth-ranked Alexander Zverev or Nicolas Jarry in the last four after both players won their opening-round matches.