GIANT SLAYER Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria plays a backhand against Danil Medvedev of Russia during their match on Day 10 of the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden on Thursday (Philippine time) in Indian Wells, California. AFP PHOTO
INDIAN WELLS, California: Reigning US Open champion Daniil Medvedev joined the growing list of top-seed casualties at the ATP/WTA Indian Wells on Wednesday (Thursday in Manila), losing in the fourth round to world No. 28 Grigor Dimitrov 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.
Medvedev, who won his first Grand Slam title last month at Flushing Meadows, had not lost a set heading into the fourth round but dropped eight straight games, and had his serve broken six times against Dimitrov, en route to a stunning early exit for the top seed.
“I don’t remember myself losing three service games, even four service games ever on hard courts,” Medvedev said.
“That shows how slow this court is and the conditions, more like clay, which I don’t like. To lose four times the serve is just unacceptable. That’s why I lost the (second) set.”
World No. 2 Medvedev did not take a break after his emotional US Open victory and said his busy schedule may have finally caught up with him.
“I did feel exhausted in this tournament. Now I can say it. I couldn’t say it before my matches. There are a few physical things that have come up,” said Medvedev, who is hoping to eventually overtake world No. 1 Novak Djokovic.
Medvedev won the first set, was up 4-1 in the second and appeared to be cruising to another easy victory when the wheels came off: his unforced errors mounted and service game fell flat.
Medvedev had no answers for the way Dimitrov was playing and predicted the Bulgarian would likely go on to capture the title.
“If he plays like this, like the way he played me from 4-1, then he is going to win the tournament,” Medvedev said.
Dimitrov will face Polish eighth seed Hubert Hurkacz, who rolled over Russian Aslan Karatsev 6-1, 6-3 on Wednesday in the quarterfinals.
The 25-year-old Medvedev beat Djokovic in the US Open final last month to prevent the Serbian star from becoming the first man since the legendary Rod Laver in the 1960s to win all four Grand Slams in the same year.
On Wednesday, Medvedev made six double faults in the two hour, 15 minute match in the main stadium.