Third seed Daniil Medvedev overcame brutal heat and a gritty Andrey Rublev to fight his way into the US Open last four yesterday with a 6-4 6-3 6-4 win over his daughter’s godfather, who for the ninth time hit a Grand Slam quarter-final wall.
On another steamy hot day with temperatures in the mid-90s Fahrenheit (32 Celsius) Medvedev was better able deal with the stifling humidity and heat inside Arthur Ashe Stadium than eighth seed Rublev to make the Flushing Meadows semi-finals for the fourth time in five years.
Rublev got the contest off to a fast start, grabbing the early break for a 3-0 lead, but Medvedev would hit back, sweeping six of the next seven games for a 1-0 lead.
It was an ominous start to the match for Rublev with Medvedev 25-0 at Flushing Meadows after winning the first set.
With the brutal conditions preventing both players from finding any rhythm, the breaks came fast and furious the next two sets.
Twice in the second they would trade breaks before Medvedev again was able to gain the upper hand with one more break.
Despite the straight sets scoreline the match would come to a heroic finish with Rublev serving at 5-4 down in the third and trying to extend the contest, fighting off four match points before Medvedev finally ended the torture on his fifth try.
Meanwhile, women’s second seed Aryna Sabalenka crushed Zheng Qinwen 6-1 6-4 to reach her fifth straight Grand Slam semi-final and end the 23rd seed’s charmed run.
Sabalenka, who will move top of the world rankings next week, pummelled her Chinese opponent with 17 winners and never faced a break point.
Zheng had never made it to a major quarter-final and endured a miserable time against the Australian Open winner, as she was unable to get much power off her serve and the Belarusian forced her into 23 errors.
Sabalenka has not dropped a set this year at Flushing Meadows and she won the first five games, dropping only one first-serve point in a near-pristine first set.
Zheng improved in the second set, forcing Sabalenka to run back and forth along the baseline as she showed finesse to triumph in a 21-shot rally in the fifth game.