How Russian tennis player Dima Medvedev got to be world No. 2

When Dima Medvedev was 17, he stepped into the world’s top 100 for the first time. At 22, he has been known as a player to be reckoned with. Medvedev will be one of the young stars in the men’s game as 2017 comes to a close. His resume includes top-five finishes at majors, among others, along with 10th-place finishes at Grand Slams.

He came a long way from Oktyabrskoye Pole, a regional town about half an hour from Moscow. The previous Russian No. 1 was Alex Bogomolov Jr., who had turned pro when Medvedev was 4. The Russian would eventually become his nation’s best known male tennis player, as his name isn’t nearly as recognizable as Rafael Nadal or Roger Federer.

Fans at the Opens, however, come to see Medvedev, who first appeared as a wild card at the 2007 US Open. He would make the finals and would then make another straight-set exit in 2009 and in 2011 and 2013. Since then, he has made his presence felt, claiming straight-set victories in four straight U.S. Open draws.

He has drawn draws in 2013, 2014 and 2016, with the fourth-round wins securing a spot in the Arthur Ashe Stadium in the 2014 and 2016 editions of the US Open. He would go one step further last year, racing into the quarters before falling to No. 5 seed Marin Cilic.

Medvedev is in the final group of eight players left at the early stage of the 2017 summer, as he is tied for the lead with Alejandro Falla at 1-0. This time around, he is playing the final two rounds in succession, so the matches will be tougher. His morning matches will likely see him dueling against Victor Estrella Burgos and Taylor Fritz. No. 8 seed Marcel Granollers will face No. 7 seed Fernando Verdasco later in the day. He will most likely be spared a potential second-round match against Federico Delbonis, the man he defeated in three sets earlier in the tournament.

Also on the line for Medvedev is a chance to keep his winning streak alive at the US Open, which matches his career best stretch of consecutive Grand Slam victories. His best performance to date is in 2013, when he reached the quarterfinals after a breakthrough win over Roger Federer. He also made the semifinals at the 2012 US Open and the quarterfinals at Wimbledon in 2015, both losses to Andy Murray.

In three previous appearances at the US Open, he has only made it as far as the third round twice. Although he is ranked 67th in the world and 17th in the ATP rankings, Medvedev is playing some of his best tennis in the early rounds of the tournament. He had never been to a Grand Slam without reaching the second round before this year. He didn’t lose a match until he lost to Leonardo Mayer in the second round of the French Open in May, a loss that was good enough to save him from playing Nadal in the quarterfinals at Roland Garros.

Although he didn’t qualify for the tournament, he has some unfinished business left at the US Open.

Leave a Comment