Daniil Medvedev has made the most of a controversial off-court break to end Alex de Minaur's US Open campaign in the fourth round. De Minaur made a red-hot start to the blockbuster clash on Tuesday (AEST) and won the opening set 6-2 against the World No.3.
Medvedev called for the trainer at one stage in the first set and was seen using an inhaler. The former US Open champion looked way off his game and made a number of uncharacteristic errors, as de Minaur found the early going quite easy.
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Following the first set, the Russian picked up all of his belongings and walked off court for a break - a move that is completely within the rules. But Aussie tennis great Todd Woodbridge was left infuriated at the time Medvedev took to come back, with the match stopped for around 20 minutes as a result.
Medvedev appears to be using an inhaler here.
The air is incredible hot and thick here. Must be really tough.
De Minaur leads 3-2 with a break. pic.twitter.com/ttlvtUoYoi
— The Tennis Podcast (@TennisPodcast) September 4, 2023
" This is a strange situation in the match," Woodbridge said on Channel 9. "A 31-minute set, Medvedev leaves the court, took his whole bag... why do you need to leave the court for that long?
"It's not a toilet break, is he changing full kit? Shouldn't that be at a certain time? I tell you, I think our sport really has to do something about these changeovers. It's just such a crutch that everyone seems to go to when they're down, and it's just not part of the game.
"It shouldn't be there, I implore our rules officials to get in and stop all this stuff going on, because it's just momentum changes in matches that we shouldn't have.
"Let's keep the game moving. It's not great for us as broadcasters, and I think it's really gamesmanship and it needs to be taken out. It’s such an annoying part of our game. You’re not supposed to be doing this. And the umpire is letting him get away with it”.
Fellow Channel 9 commentator Brenton Speed said Medvedev appeared “quite distressed” and might have been struggling to breathe, although he was in full support of Woodbridge's comments that officials needed to do something about the big break. Fans were also highly critical of Medvedev, describing his actions as "gamesmanship" and an attempt to break de Minaur's momentum.
— Francois Asongo (@Francois_Asongo) September 4, 2023
No justification for these unscheduled 'breaks' in tennis! Djokovic took it to a new level when he's losing. Now Medvedev. It's BS. What's next - play a couple games then a 'coaching break's ffs!! #USOpen
— Boson02 (@boson02) September 4, 2023
WTF IS MEDVEDEV DOING?!?!?!!!!! IS THIS A JOKE?? WTF BRO
— night_thoughts.com (@night_thoughtz_) September 4, 2023
how much time are you allowed between sets??? Is there a rule? I could have gone out for breakfast lol
— DanStar 💫 (@StarofS) September 4, 2023
Because every player needs a full kit change after losing the first set in the blink of an eye... rules need to change
— deano (@deanoo22) September 4, 2023
Daniil Medvedev beats Alex de Minaur after off-court break
Medvedev looked a completely different player when he returned from the break, turning the tide to take the second set 6-4. De Minaur dropped his serve at the worst possible time while down 4-5.
This time it was the Aussie's turn to take an off-court break, leaving Medvedev hanging as he headed to the bathroom. While de Minaur's break wasn't nearly as long as his opponent's, Woodbridge reiterated his criticism of the farcical rules.
"In what other sport in the world can you just walk off and leave all the fans waiting?" Woodbridge said. "It just makes no sense."
Medvedev then continued his torrid turnaround, claiming the third and fourth sets 6-1 6-2 to send de Minaur crashing out. After starting with 15 players in the main draw at Flushing Meadows, de Minaur was Australia's last hope.
Carlos Alcaraz and Andrey Rublev advance at US Open
Medvedev will now play Andrey Rublev in the quarter-finals. The Russian eighth seed earlier beat Jack Draper 6-3 3-6 6-3 6-4.
World No.1 and defending champion Carlos Alcaraz also breezed past Matteo Arnaldi of Italy, winning 6-3 6-3 6-4 inside Arthur Ashe Stadium. The Italian 22-year-old did manage a break at the start of the third set, but it was quickly snuffed out as Alcaraz raced to victory in under two hours.
Arnaldi had beaten Aussie Jason Kubler in the second round, as well as British No.16 seed Cameron Norrie in the last 16. But Alcaraz is a completely different beast.
"I think the intensity from the beginning until the last ball pleased me," said the 20-year-old Wimbledon champion. "I played a really solid match, less mistakes, I played my game. I'm really happy with the performance."
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