The top seed, Daniil Medvedev, is through to his first-ever grass final after he overcame Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta in just under two hours in the semifinal at the inaugural ATP Mallorca Championships. The 25-year-old Russian appeared lackluster and rusty in the first set as he committed plenty of unforced errors, quite unusual for him. However, the 2021 Australian Open runner-up, made amends to his game just in time to win the next two sets and recorded a come from behind 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 victory over the Spaniard.
In his maiden final on grass, Medvedev awaits big-serving American Sam Querrey. The tall American made a mockery of Adrian Mannarino’s challenge in the other semifinal to book his first final berth this season. Querrey’s impeccable serving was too hot to handle for the southpaw Frenchman. Courtesy of his 18 aces and a staggering 97% points won on his first serves, Querrey breezed past Mannarino 6-4 6-3 in barely 70 minutes. He certainly served a statement of intent right before Wimbledon.
ATP Mallorca Championships Final Preview
Daniil Medvedev vs Sam Querrey
In their only encounter, Medvedev overcame Querrey 6-3 7-5 in their first round clash at Eastbourne on the grass in 2017.
Road to the final
Top seed in Mallorca, Medvedev received a bye in the opening round. Thereafter, the Russian overcame Christian Moutet and Casper Ruud in straight sets before being pushed to three sets by Pablo Carreno Busta in the semifinal.
In the Round of 16, Querrey received a walkover against Ugo Humbert, to whom he lost in Halle last week. The tall American recorded his first Top 10 victory since 2019 when he defeated Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut in straight sets in the quarterfinal. He will now face his toughest test so far this grass season as he takes on Medvedev in the final.
It is no surprise that huge serving Querrey relishes playing on grass. Medvedev can find himself in a lot of trouble, especially in his return games, if Querrey can continue serving the way he has been serving all week.
On the other hand, Medvedev can exploit Querrey’s weakness in rallies by lengthening the points. At the same time, it is important for Medvedev that he does not lose focus on his serving. He cannot afford to be broken as it would be an uphill task to break Querrey’s serve. The 34-year-old American has been broken just once so far this week, and he has served mammoth 65 aces in just three matches.
Medvedev, who prefers standing deep behind the baseline to maximize his chances of generating a better return, will emphasize executing the same strategy as much as possible to prevent Querrey from achieving free points. If Medvedev can find a way to return Querrey’s lethal serves consistently, the top seed can put pressure on the American with his strong baseline game and great defensive skills.
What’s at stake?
Despite favoring grass–Querrey has defeated both Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray at the Wimbledon–the 34-year-old American just has a solitary title on the surface in his career. He would dearly hope to add another one on Saturday.
Medvedev is eyeing his maiden title on gras. A win on Saturday would be a huge confidence boost for the Russian, who is one of the title contenders at Wimbledon.
Can Querrey, who won his last title in 2017, tame Medvedev to end his title drought? Or will Medvedev find a way to overcome in-form American to bag his second title of 2021?
A mouth-watering clash awaits us at Mallorca just before Wimbledon. Daniil Medvedev and Sam Querrey face off to lay hands on the inaugural Mallorca Open title!
Main Photo from Getty.