Daniil Medvedev breathed a sigh of relief on Thursday when he recorded an ATP Tour-leading 56th match win of the season at the Rolex Shanghai Masters.
The third-seeded Russian extended his run of form but was made to work hard by Canadian qualifier Vasek Pospisil in a 7-6(7), 7-5 victory over two hours and five minutes for a place in the quarter-finals.
Medvedev, who has already qualified for the Nitto ATP Finals, to be held at The O2 in London from 10-17 November, improves to 26-3 on hard courts since July — which includes five straight finals. He has won 42 matches on the surface this year and reached eight tour-level finals.
Pospisil failed to convert five set points in the first set, as Medvedev recovered on serve from 0/40 at 4-5 and also at 5/6 and 6/7 in the tie-break. Pospisil’s best chances to clinch the set came at 15/40 in the 10th game, when he overhit a forehand approach wide, then when he struck a double fault at 6/5 in the tie-break.
Medvedev carried the momentum into the second set by taking a 2-0 lead, but Pospisil broke back with a drop shot that his opponent netted. Pospisil, who appeared to be under the weather, was eventually worn down by the long baseline rallies and hit a backhand into the net at the end of their first FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting.
World No. 4 Medvedev has won three ATP Tour titles in 2019 at the Sofia Open (d. Fucsovics) in February, his first Masters 1000 crown at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati (d. Goffin) and also at the recent St. Petersburg (d. Coric).
The 23-year-old, who has advanced to five finals in as many events, will next play No. 10 seed Fabio Fognini, who is bidding to qualify for the season finale for the first time. The Italian rose up to 11th position in the 2019 ATP Race To London, on 2,235 points, after he knocked out seventh-seeded Russian Karen Khachanov 6-3, 7-5 in one hour and 47 minutes.
Medvedev is level at 1-1 in hard-court meetings against Fognini, the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters titlist, in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series.
Fognini broke Khachanov for a 3-1 lead in the first set, then bounced back from 0-2 down in the second set and is now 28-19 on the season