The Russian still has work to do, however. By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Friday August 19, 2022

Daniil Medvedev entered the Western and Southern Open with his No.1 ranking under threat, and having just been served a difficult (and early – tough draw) loss to Nick Kyrgios at Montreal. He had not been to a Masters semifinal all season (but was an Australian open runner-up), and it felt like he was one of many US Open hopefuls on the ATP Tour – not the official alpha dog.

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That could be changing this week. Medvedev has passed all tests at the place where made a dramatic run to the title in 2019, with convincing wins over Botic Van de Zandschulp, Denis Shapovalov and Taylor Fritz. He is now locked in as the World No.1, and will be the top seed at the US Open and, best of all, Medvedev is getting better by match.

On Friday he ripped past Taylor Fritz 7-6(1), 6-3 to reach the semifinals, with a vintage Medvedevian performance.

After a classic bend but don’t break first set that saw Medvedev stave off three set points, the Russian clicked into overdrive in the second set, producing the most breathtaking segment of the tournament to break Fritz for 2-0. It was classic Medvedev defense and court coverage; the Russian threw up a miracle lob midpoint, took a deep breath as he watched it soar into the high Ohio sky, then finished off the point to take firm command of the top American.

It was the type of performance that makes us remember what we have in Medvedev: one of the most ruthless and polished hard courters in the sport, who just so happens to be the defending US Open champion. With Novak Djokovic’s status uncertain and Rafael Nadal’s form and fitness still in question after his loss to Borna Coric in round one, Medvedev is stepping into the fray as the favorite in New York.

In a city and at a venue he loves and thrives in, his uptick in form couldn’t be happening at a better time.

But there is more to prove in Cincinnati. Medvedev squares off with either John Isner or Stefanos Tsitsipas in the semis, and there could be a Carlos Alcaraz or a Felix Auger-Aliassime waiting in the final.

The World No.1’s work is not done yet in Cincinnati, nor is his status as top dog in New York ensured. Stay tuned for a few days, and check back.