#NextGenATP Daniil Medvedev pulled off the upset of The Championships on Monday, knocking out three-time Grand Slam tournament champion Stan Wawrinka 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 to earn his first Grand Slam victory.
The 21-year-old Russian had lost in the opening round of both of his previous Grand Slam showings, at the 2017 Australian Open (l. to Escobedo) and at Roland Garros earlier this year (retired against Borzi). The Moscow native had never played in the main draw at Wimbledon and had quite the stage for his debut – Centre Court against the World No. 3, who had twice reached the quarter-finals at the All England Club (2014, l. to Federer; 2015, l. to Gasquet).
“First of all, it’s my first Grand Slam win. So even if I didn’t beat Stan, it would be one of the biggest wins in my life,” said Medvedev. “I have no words to describe this. I guess this memory will be with me forever.
“It’s a very strange feeling to go out there. It’s like you have a fear, you’re tight, but you want to show your best. You want to [beat] Stan Wawrinka on Centre Court so that people can know more about you. It was just something special. I don’t know how to explain it.”
But Medvedev has been no stranger to the grass courts this year. He reached the quarter-finals at the Ricoh Open in ’s-Hertogenbosch (l. to Karlovic) and the semi-finals at the Aegon International in Eastbourne (l. to Djokovic). Earlier in the year, the 6’6” right-hander reached his first ATP World Tour final at the Aircel Chennai Open (l. to Bautista Agut). On Monday, all the success added up to a career milestone for the right-hander, who cracked the Top 50 of the Emirates ATP Rankings for the first time at No. 49.
Medvedev also climbed to fourth place in the Emirates ATP Race To Milan, which will determine seven of the eight players who compete at the inaugural Next Gen ATP Finals, to be held 7-11 November in Milan. The eighth player will be determined by wild card.
Wawrinka has struggled during past years at Wimbledon, having fallen in the first round five times. Last year, he lost in the second round to Argentine Juan Martin del Potro. But Wawrinka was coming off a final run at Roland Garros and had brought on Pete Sampras‘ former coach Paul Annacone to help him out during the grass-court swing.
Medvedev, though, was stronger from the start. He dropped only four first-serve points (21/25) in the first set to take the opener in 39 minutes. Wawrinka gained steam in the second set, blasting a backhand winner up the line for a break and a 5-3 lead.
The Swiss right-hander served out the set but iced his left knee immediately following his service game. The pain would hamper him throughout the match.
Medvedev, however, was unaffected and battled nerves to come through for his first Top 5 victory during his third attempt. The Russian was aggressive and didn’t let Wawrinka dictate play, keeping the 32 year old behind the baseline. The 6’6” Russian also moved swiftly, approaching the net from both wings against Wawrinka.
Medvedev broke at 5-4 to take the third set, and in the fourth set, he rolled, hitting four of his 10 aces and converting both break points to advance. After the win, he savoured the moment by kissing the Centre Court grass.
The Russian will next meet Belgian Ruben Bemelmans, who beat wild card Tommy Haas 6-2, 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 in what will be Haas’ final match at Wimbledon. The 39-year-old veteran has said this will be his final year on tour.
Haas, who reached the Wimbledon semi-finals in 2009, was making his 16th appearance at The Championships.
“Lots of emotions. Of course never great to lose in the first round. But I’m happy to have been back, happy to have been given another try, happy to be playing in front of my close family, my kids,” Haas said.
“Overall, I didn’t play to the best of my ability, unfortunately. I had a good opponent today. He played well. I didn’t win the big points when it counted. I had a few chances to win the fourth set with a couple set points. Who knows what could have happened in the fifth, I would have loved to have played one.”