Scott Ferguson is back with a preview & best bet for men's semi-final day at the US Open in New York.
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Medvedev v Dimitrov
Russian Daniil Medvedev’s amazing (North) American adventure continues, reaching his first Grand Slam semi-final. Despite requiring treatment on his left quadricep against Stan Wawrinka, he impressively defied the pain and found a way to win. His run of form stands at 19-2 including eleven wins in a row. That volume of matches, particularly on hardcourt, is very hard on the body and this is the first time Medvedev has ever had such a run in a best-of-five sets event.
In addition to the quad muscle, he’s also had problems with both adductors and his right bicep. He's just not built for extreme stamina combined with huge power. Surely he has to reach a point where the body just says ‘no more’. A dozen double faults in his last match is a big concern. That's not an off day serving, that's pain in extending the body up and forwards trying to hit 200kph serves and painkillers can only mask that for part of a match.
Grigor Dimitrov broke a seven-match losing streak against an ailing Roger Federer, who required treatment to a back injury during their quarter-final. The Bulgarian has been in the wilderness predominantly due to a shoulder injury for much of the year, losing seven of his previous eight matches before this fortnight, but without any of his coaching entourage here, his performances have noticeably improved. Granted he gained a walkover against Borna Coric and Federer was injured on Wednesday night, but the signs of a return to the game which earned him the label ‘Baby Fed’ and saw him reach third in the world rankings are there.
With no previous clashes between the pair, there's a lot of guesswork in how this will pan out. Models focusing on current form will be heavily favouring Medvedev. Those giving more credence to historic form will appreciate three-time Grand Slam semi-finalist Dimitrov a little more. Any odds assessment which factors in the amount of time being spent in the physio room may even give the edge to the Bulgarian. For what it's worth (probably not a lot), Medvedev's record against 'Big Fed' is 0-3.
I'm willing to take the punt that there's not much left in the tank for Medvedev. While he has been feeding on the energy of the crowd to get him through, that can't last much longer. Dimitrov's form so far is solid enough to put him into the contest. With his confidence back and his opponent relying on the medical room to keep him going, Dimitrov is worth supporting as the outsider.