Western and Southern Open 2019: Novak Djokovic Upset by Daniil Medvedev in Semis

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorAugust 18, 2019

MASON, OHIO - AUGUST 17: Daniil Medvedev of Russia celebrates after defeating Novak Djokovic of Serbia during Day 8 of the Western and Southern Open at Lindner Family Tennis Center on August 17, 2019 in Mason, Ohio. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

A pair of No. 1 seeds went down Saturday, as No. 9 Daniil Medvedev beat Novak Djokovic and unseeded Svetlana Kuznetsova bested Ashleigh Barty at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Medvedev fought back to defeat Djokovic 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 in the only semifinal matchup featuring two seeded players.

Kuznetsova's 6-4, 6-2 win kicked off semifinal play at the Lindner Family Tennis Center.

Medvedev will meet David Goffin, who beat Richard Gasquet in straight sets, in the men's final. Kuznetsova will take on Madison Keys, who advanced to the final with a tough straight-sets triumph over Sofia Kenin.

Here's a look at the semifinal scores and recaps, as well as the finals schedule.


Western and Southern Open Semifinal Results

Women's Draw

Svetlana Kuznetsova def. No. 1 Ashleigh Barty; 6-4, 6-2

No. 16 Madison Keys def. Sofia Kenin; 7-5, 6-4


Men's Draw

No. 16 David Goffin def. Richard Gasquet; 6-3, 6-4

No. 9 Daniil Medvedev def. No. 1 Novak Djokovic; 3-6, 6-3, 6-3


Match Recaps

Svetlana Kuznetsova def. No. 1 Ashleigh Barty: 6-4, 6-2

Kuznetsova's strong serve and resilient first-set performance led to her win over the draw's top-seeded player.

The two-time major victor won 75 percent of her total service points compared to Barty's 55 percent.

Furthermore, Kuznetsova unleashed a dominant first-set run in which she won six straight games after dropping the first two.

During that stretch, Barty only won nine points, in part because of this incredible Kuznetsova return to win the fifth game:


This. Is. Incredible. 😍 @SvetlanaK27 #CincyTennis https://t.co/wGWqXLfWIq

Kuznetsova dictated the second set's tone when she immediately broke Barty before holding serve for the remainder of the match. Barty only won three points when Kuznetsova served in the second.


She's REALLY bringing the 🔥 today! @SvetlanaK27 #CincyTennis https://t.co/FPTUjNQbJM

The No. 153 player on WTA's latest list isn't your typical underdog.

First, she's dropped in the rankings recently because of a wrist injury that kept her out seven months in addition to being forced to withdraw from the 2019 Citi Open because of visa issues.

Kuznetsova is far better than the 153rd-best player in the world, as evidenced by her taking down No. 11 Anastasija Sevastova, No. 8 Sloane Stephens and No. 3 Karolína Plíšková in Cincinnati prior to the Barty match.

WTA senior digital producer David Kane provided a reason why Kuznetsova has been so dominant of late:

𝒟𝒶𝓋𝒾𝒹 𝒦𝒶𝓃𝑒ツ @DKTNNS

Hearing that Kuznetsova has radically changed her nutrition - eating avocado salads for dinner - which would explain how fit she's looking on so few matches. #CincyTennis

Kuznetsova gave her own theory:

Tumaini Carayol @tumcarayol

Q. What has been the key to getting these results? KUZNETSOVA, Svetlana: "Getting my US visa, probably."

The 2004 U.S. Open and 2009 French Open champion will now have the opportunity to win her first WTA title since last year's Citi Open.


No. 16 Madison Keys def. Sofia Kenin: 7-5, 6-4

Keys will have the opportunity to win her fifth WTA title after defeating Kenin in straight sets 7-5, 6-4.


She's into the final! @Madison_Keys has enjoyed another wonderful day at @cincytennis, beating Kenin 7-5, 6-4! #CincyTennis https://t.co/diQSclim1I

Keys' 14 aces compared to Kenin's one was a big edge, which helped the winner earn an 80 percent first-serve rate compared to Kenin's 55 percent. She also won 45 percent of her first return points versus Kenin's 20 percent.

Still, Kenin made Keys work for her victory, breaking the favorite on three occasions. Kenin even took a 3-1 lead in the second set thanks to this forehand:


🏃‍♀️🏃‍♀️🏃‍♀️ @SofiaKenin #CincyTennis https://t.co/ppgpYXxjHs

From that point forward, both women dug deep for some excellent returning. Keys broke Kenin three times for the remainder of the match, while Kenin did so once. Keys' final break point proved to be the difference, though, and it was set up by this crafty return:


This - is - just - WOW. @Madison_Keys 😍 #CincyTennis https://t.co/dtwuwAIJas

Keys will now get a chance to win her first Western and Southern Open title. 


No. 16 David Goffin def. Richard Gasquet: 6-3, 6-4

David Goffin cruised into the final with a straight-sets win over Richard Gasquet 6-3, 6-4.

ATP Tour @ATP_Tour

🇧🇪 @David__Goffin will meet Novak Djokovic or Daniil Medvedev for the #CincyTennis 🏆. 🎥: @TennisTV | @CincyTennis https://t.co/Ac2fCu9Kdr

The match's turning point occurred in the fifth game of the first set.

Goffin had just broken Gasquet to take an early 3-1 edge, but the 33-year-old Frenchman battled back and earned a break point of his own.

However, Goffin didn't break and eventually held serve, taking a 4-1 lead en route to a 6-3 first-set victory.

Tennis writer Jake Davies gave Goffin credit for his work:

Jake Davies @jakedavi5

David Goffin takes the opening set 6-3 against Gasquet and moves to within one set of the Cincinnati Masters final. Just the four unforced errors from the Belgian - and he's looking the much more eager to apply the finishing touches to points.

Gasquet had the early advantage in the second set after breaking Goffin to take a 2-0 lead, but the Cincinnati finalist immediately broke back and then did so again in a hard-fought seventh game that lasted 10 points.

Goffin, who hasn't lost a set in Cincinnati since the round of 64 against Taylor Fritz, enjoyed tremendous success with his second-serve points. Goffin won 77 percent of his, while Gasquet only won three of 19. Gasquet also committed four double-faults to Goffin's one.

Goffin will now have a chance to win his first ATP Masters 1000 title.


No. 1 Novak Djokovic def. No. 9 Daniil Medvedev: 3-6, 6-3, 6-3

Djokovic looked like he would cruise to a straight-sets victory after winning the first set 6-3 and earning a break point chance at 2-2 in the second set.

The 23-year-old Medvedev had other ideas.

The underdog held serve following Djokovic's break point and eventually broke the top player in the world to earn a 6-3 second-set victory.

Medvedev rode that wave of momentum into the third and final set, where he broke Djokovic in the third game, held serve the rest of the way and finished by breaking the favorite.

ATP Tour @ATP_Tour

A 🚀 TO CLOSE! ✅ Washington final ✅ Montreal final ✅ Cincinnati final ❓ #CincyTennis 🏆 👏 @DaniilMedwed 🎥: @TennisTV | @CincyTennis https://t.co/h4pz2TDHQC


ATP Tour @ATP_Tour

Is that @DaniilMedwed or a brick wall? 🤔 The 🇷🇺 is up a break in the decider, 3-2, moving closer to a second straight #ATPMasters1000 final. 👊 🎥: @TennisTV | @CincyTennis https://t.co/D4stvcaCmm

A tactical switch midway through the match played a large role, as Matthew Willis of The Racquet noted:

Matthew Willis @MattRacquet

1. Medvedev has reversed his usual gameplan. Usually tries to extend points vs opponents and force errors/UE. Tried that in 1st set and it didn't work. So now aggressive in sets 2 and 3: Avg rally length Set 1: 7.1 Avg rally length Set 2: 5.8 Avg rally length set 3: 4.9 (so far)

Medvedev's service game was largely the difference, as he blasted 16 aces to Djokovic's six. It also helped that the crowd was behind the underdog, as Ben Rothenberg of the New York Times noted:

Ben Rothenberg @BenRothenberg

This crowd is LOUD for Medvedev right now, goodness. #CincyTennis

Medvedev referenced the crowd in his televised post-match interview with ESPN's Brad Gilbert, noting the Cincinnati fans gave him energy down the stretch.

The underdog winner has been on an absolute tear of late, as Rothenberg noted:

Ben Rothenberg @BenRothenberg

Daniil Medvedev beats #1 Novak Djokovic for the second time this year and makes his third final in three weeks (Washington, Montreal) The dude is in an utterly unreal zone right now. He’ll face Goffin tomorrow for the #CincyTennis title; Goffin beat him in five at Wimbledon.

Goffin has been on a roll himself in Cincinnati, though, making this unlikely final one to watch Sunday.


What's Next?

Keys and Kuznetsova will face off in the women's final Sunday at 2 p.m. ET, with the Medvedev vs. Goffin matchup scheduled for 4 p.m. ESPN2 will televise the matches.

Keys has beaten Kuznetsova in all three of their head-to-head matchups via straight sets, with the last win occurring in Beijing in 2016.

Goffin and Medvedev have faced off twice. Oddly enough, both matches occurred in the round of 32 during 2019 majors.

Medvedev beat Goffin in straight sets at the Australian Open before Goffin got revenge on the Wimbledon grass in five.


Full tournament results and schedule available at the tournament's official website.

All statistics via https://www.flashscores.co.uk.