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Verdasco, Fernando

28.07.2020 - 18:00 Uhr

Nick Kyrgios showed his abilities from an early age, reaching two Grand Slam quarter-finals before turning 21. But the Aussie made his biggest charge up the FedEx ATP Rankings by establishing more consistency throughout the 2016 season, with a prime example coming at the Truist Atlanta Open.The flashy Aussie arrived in Georgia on a two-match losing streak, but he quickly settled into the Atlanta heat and battled hard to win his second ATP Tour title."In Marseille, I was unbeatable,” Kyrgios said of his first title earlier in the year. “This week was completely different. I wasn't playing well at all at the start of the week… I found the right balance. I was competing and had some fun." Kyrgios emerged from three-setters in the quarter-finals and semi-finals against Fernando Verdasco and Yoshihito Nishioka, respectively. He then faced a daunting challenge against big-serving home favourite John Isner, who carried a 15-match Atlanta winning streak into the final."I knew it was going to be tough from the get-go," said Kyrgios. "John is still so comfortable on that court. I needed to come up with some special stuff today and it just came down to a couple points here and there. I did all the right things today and stayed calm. I knew I'd have my chance.”Kyrgios had his back against the wall at the start, facing three break points at 0/40 in his opening service game. Losing any of those points against the American would have been a crushing way to start the match. But the 21-year-old saved them all and settled in from there."Returning is very crucial against John," said Kyrgios. "That serve is world-class. It would have been a completely different story if he got me there."Isner saved the two break points he faced, but it was not enough. Kyrgios triumphed 7-6(3), 7-6(4) when the American double faulted on match point. Kyrgios had previously trailed Isner 0-2 in their ATP Head2Head series.“I go back to that second game of the match,” Isner said. “He came up with really good serves. He's one of the best servers on the Tour.”Later in 2016, Kyrgios won his first ATP 500 in Tokyo and reached a career-high No. 13 in the FedEx ATP Rankings.Did You Know?In the 2016 Atlanta final, Kyrgios won 67 per cent of his second-serve points compared to 39 per cent for Isner.

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13.08.2020 - 18:50 Uhr

Winning breeds confidence and 12 months ago, one star was burning brightest of all. Daniil Medvedev, who had swapped sweets and croissants for a better diet to match his dedication and professionalism on the court, went on a tear.After Nick Kyrgios narrowly beat him 7-6(8), 7-6(4) in the 2019 Citi Open final, the Russian travelled to Montreal, for arguably the pivotal moment of his career, when years of training and repetition came together — and ultimately propelled him on a path for the Top 5 in the FedEx ATP Rankings.His 2019 Coupe Rogers performances were all the more remarkable when you consider that Medvedev had had to qualify the year before to play in Toronto, where he lost to Alexander Zverev in the 2018 third round of the main draw. In the build-up to Montreal, one year on, Medvedev had reached three ATP Tour finals in 2019 and earned a career total of four Top 10 scalps, including back-to-back victories, a few months earlier, over No. 8-ranked Stefanos Tsitsipas and World No. 1 Novak Djokovic at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters.Now, returning to Canadian soil, the 23-year-old was the eighth seed. And, throughout the week, he was not just beating, but dominating great players, having found his rhythm and the right tactics, forged in partnership with his coach Gilles Cervara. Medvedev did not lose more than three games per set in his first three matches in Montreal. He beat No. 4 Dominic Thiem 6-3, 6-1 in the quarter-finals and earned a 6-1, 7-6(6) semi-final victory over fellow Russian Karen Khachanov, then ranked No. 8, took the player into unchartered territory.While Rafael Nadal breezed past Medvedev 6-3, 6-0 in his first ATP Masters 1000 final, his education continued. And Medvedev has never looked back."It's one of two best tournaments I've played in my life," said Medvedev, of Montreal last year. "One was basically of course Tokyo, the only ATP 500 I won at this moment. Of course, to be in the final of a Masters 1000, I mean, it's an amazing achievement for me at this moment... Of course, I always say this: if you don't win the tournament, you are always disappointed. Even if you lose in a final of a Grand Slam, you will be disappointed."With a booming serve, one of the flattest backhands and most unorthodox games on the ATP Tour, Medvedev was not downcast. The following week, he kept putting the ball back, continued to frustrate opponents and subsequently captured the Western & Southern Open crown, overcoming Djokovic 3-6, 6-3, 6-3, for the second time, in the semi-finals, and David Goffin 7-6(3), 6-4 for the biggest trophy of his career.Immediately touted as a favourite for the US Open, Medvedev, who’d been the World No. 16 on 14 January, fell, narrowly, one step short in the final. Hours after an outstanding campaign had ended with a five-set loss to Nadal, Medvedev rose to a career-high No. 4 on 9 September. He was the first player to accrue 50 match wins on the 2019 season.“Of course, deep inside of me, I understand that what I've done these four weeks is amazing, even comparing to what I've done before,” said Medvedev. “I don't want to stop. I will always work to be better. I will try to do my best every day.”Memories of Medvedev winning 20 out of 23 matches and reaching four straight finals on North American hard courts — only the third player to do so after Ivan Lendl and Andre Agassi — remain vivid, ahead of the ATP Tour’s return this month.While Medvedev would go onto lift two more trophies, the St. Petersburg Open (d. Coric) and the Rolex Shanghai Masters (d. Zverev), to extend his post-2019 Wimbledon streak to 29-3 and cement his place inside the Top 10, it was his week in Montreal that was pivotal in his rise to consistent, peak performance.