US Open champion Daniil Medvedev “put the pressure on” to earn his 50th win of the season at the weather-hit ATP/WTA Indian Wells, defeating Filip Krajinovic 6-2, 7-6 (7/1) in the third round on Monday night.
The 25-year-old Russian delivered a dynamic performance in a second-set tiebreaker to pull away from the Serb and increase his match record to 50-10 this season.
“It was a really tough match,” Medvedev told AFP. “The first set I got lucky in a few moments. The second set I started well, but he raised his level.
“I am happy I managed to fight on every point and get it to a tiebreak. I was super solid in the tiebreak and really put the pressure on.”
World No 2 Medvedev moves on to the round of 16 where he will face Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov, who cruised past American Reilly Opelka 6-3, 6-4 during a windy day session.
Medvedev has been ranked second in the world since early in the year and says his goal is to one day be No 1, which is held by Novak Djokovic. Medvedev defeated him in the US Open final.
“Since I was six I dreamed about being number one,” Medvedev said. “But he is the real No 1 this year. He won three Grand Slams. That is the reality.
“It is one of my goals. I just need to win a hell of a lot of matches and Grand Slams.”
Play was delayed for about an hour in the night session before the start of Medvedev’s match after heavy rain and gusting winds swept through the Palm Springs, California area.
The worst of the bad weather arrived in the middle of the first evening match between Coco Gauff and Paula Badosa.
Action resumed after a small army of volunteers helped dry the main stadium court at the Tennis Garden.
Organizers then had to shuffle the schedule, postponing some doubles matches and moving others to empty courts to get them started sooner.
Medvedev beat Djokovic in the US Open final last month to prevent the Serb from becoming the first man since the legendary Rod Laver to win all four Grand Slams in the same year.
In his US Open victory speech, Medvedev said he forgot to get his wife an anniversary gift. He said Monday that winning a first Grand Slam title was all she had asked for.
“I love my wife,” he said. “She played tennis until she was 18. We have a saying in Russian — one boat in the journey. It was a better gift for her, than even for me, that I won the US Open.”
Elsewhere in the men’s draw, Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman defeated Daniel Evans of Britain 5-7, 6-4, 6-0 and Casper Ruud of Norway rallied to beat South Africa’s Lloyd Harris 6-7 (4/7), 6-4, 6-4.