Daniil Medvedev misses chance to return to world number one with Miami Open loss

·3 min read

Daniil Medvedev missed out on the chance to return to world number one after losing to defending champion Hubert Hurkacz in the Miami Open quarter-finals.

Medvedev would have overtaken Novak Djokovic next week to reclaim top spot by reaching at least the semi-finals but suffered a 7-6 (7) 6-3 loss to Pole Hurkacz.

The Russian admitted he struggled with the hot and humid conditions, saying: “All the match I was not feeling my best.

“I was feeling super dizzy, tired, and there was this long game where I couldn’t serve any more. Then in the locker room I was cramping quite a lot.

“I was sitting down, really tired, and then suddenly every muscle just went cramp, cramp, cramp, cramp. I was like a fish on the sofa.”

It has been a tricky few weeks for Medvedev, who, since his painful loss to Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open final, has lost again to the Spaniard in the semi-finals in Acapulco, become world number one, lost early in Indian Wells and faced questions about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the implications within tennis.

“The last month I don’t think was easy for anybody,” he said. “I just tried to practise as much as I can, to practise good, because that’s my job. I tried to play some good tennis.

Naomi Osaka, right, claimed an emotional win over Belinda Bencic
Naomi Osaka, right, claimed an emotional win over Belinda Bencic (Rebecca Blackwell/AP)

“I’m kind of happy about the tournament in Miami in a way of tennis, because I think this surface and these balls, these two tournaments, were definitely not for me. I was struggling, it was painful to play mentally. I managed in Miami to find just a little spark to try to make it work.”

Hurkacz, who won the biggest title of his career in Miami 12 months ago, will next face 18-year-old Carlos Alcaraz, who continued his seemingly unstoppable rise with a gruelling 6-7 (5) 6-3 7-6 (5) victory over Miomir Kecmanovic.

The women’s final will be a blockbuster between soon-to-be world number one Iga Swiatek and a resurgent Naomi Osaka.

Having been distressed by heckling from a spectator during an early loss in Indian Wells, there were tears of a very different sort from the four-time grand slam champion after a 4-6 6-3 6-4 victory over Belinda Bencic.

From her current lowly ranking of 77, Osaka will climb to at least 36 and will return to the top 30 if she can claim her first title since the Australian Open last year.

Asked about her emotions, Osaka said: “I think the semis meant a lot to me. Warming up, I was so nervous. I felt like I wasn’t moving my feet that great.

“I wanted to go into this tournament and test myself, and I feel like she was probably the best opponent in the world for that. I didn’t have good memories playing against her.

“I’m glad that I was able to get through. It wasn’t really relief, but it was definitely happiness.”

Swiatek extended her winning run to 16 matches with a 6-2 7-5 victory over American Jessica Pegula.