Alcaraz vs. Medvedev US Open 2023 SF | Post-MatchSep 09, 2023
Hello everyone, Gil gross here after the
matchCarlos Alcaraz versus Daniel Medvedev Semifinal of the US
2023if you are not here to see spoilers, click on the video in three two one even though Alcaraz smoked it in the first two
matches of this season Daniel Medvedev turns one win into four and advances to the US Open final, where he will face Novak Djokovic in a rematch of the 2021 final. Yes, this turned out to be a result that, from the looks of the last two matches , it was surprising, but when you also think about If you do it and step away from that, then it doesn't seem so surprising that a guy who is number three in the world, a guy whose best surface is Hardcore, whose best major was US Open, a guy who is not only there in the world, but who is the third-ranked power coming into this tournament, even taking into account the results, even though it was a difficult summer for him, so in that This sense is not a surprise, but what I really want to talk about is in terms of resetting how we think. about medveda valkaraz as this match will force us to do the reality is that before they played in Indian Wells he didn't know it was going to be a bad matchup for Medvedev.
I don't even remember who I picked, but I do remember how I felt a lot about the matchup and I remember thinking, "Okay, there are things here, maybe not on a court as slow as Indian Wells, but there are things here that Medvedev does and in the ones that Medvedev is good and that should actually be able to work against Carlos Alcaraz and reason. The reason those things were left out was because the two times they played those things they weren't even close to happening, not even close to happening, because that's how I think about matchups, what are the paths to victory? for both players?
That's how I do my previews, that's how I think about my matchups and I found paths for Medvedev pretty easily, they just didn't come close to happening, they happened this time, they happened so let's get into it, it's not a very sexy thing to do. to talk about, but Medvedev's first serve did not return as often he was completely neutralized everywhere else he was completely neutralized at Wimbledon he got a lot of free points and when he didn't get free points he got a lot of babysitters he got a lot of Short balls, a lot of forehands inside the court and it was quite surprising to me that Alcaraz never backed down.
He started blocking returns from him a little later, but there weren't many games like the third set where he took a lot of shots. his returns, uh, when he broke serve weren't high quality returns, he just got them, they were short for the most part and the way Alcaraz broke Medvedev's serve, which I think was his only break of the match and it arrived. in uh came in one two Medvedev came up short, created shortcomings on his serve, hit approach shots,
alcarazjust scrambled and basically took advantage of Medvedev's lackluster volume by executing two shot passing patterns that were essentially breaking the swell, like this that when the serve came back Alcaraz showed that his defense and fighting ability were potentially good enough to get a break, two or three, but many times he didn't even get to that point because Medvedev's first serve was very dominant in this match and the second serve, Daniel certainly was also quite good, double faulting ten times and still winning 50 of his points on the second serve.
That's pretty good, that's pretty significant. Alcaraz's game plan was like it was against Zverev, he was ruthless in attacking the second serve position, very close, hitting very hard and even. Sometimes he would come in right behind it, that was the plan. That plan could have cost Alcare the first set. Not because it's not a good plan. Hell, if I were training Alcaraz, I would have told them to do the same. Medvedev's second serve has apparently been one. one of the most vulnerable parts of his game and I would put as much pressure as possible on it, especially since Daniel's defense is not that good after he just hit a wave, but if you look at Medvedev's first two service games in the first set, Alcaraz was actually making some good returns of Danielle Medvedev's first serve he was actually missing a lot of first serves
alcarazwas winning some points from the baseline and as a result he had a chance to make both games to two he had two points of break in one game but he missed so much Many second returns where he couldn't get the break, he couldn't jump on Medvedev from the beginning and take that early lead, which would have been even more significant considering the history of the matchup, but I think I'm seeing a point two in love one where Alcaraz missed a forehand return long and then in the next game at 1-2 I see two break points in a row at 30 40.
Alcaraz hit a forehand return for a forced error and that Deuce, another forehand return that doesn't hit it cleanly and misses so it stops, he's trying to take it early but doesn't hit it cleanly. Medvedev may be emphasizing going for Alcaraz's forehand feeling that if he is that close I can rush him. return in particular Maybe, but that really costs Alcaraz early and then as the match progressed, as the match progressed and Medvedev started to feel quite confident on his serve, that's when he started to mix up the second serve really hard and fast with Alcaraz's forehand, none bigger than in the fourth set at one here is another opportunity at the beginning of a set for Alcaraz to break he had 15 40 but this was at 30 40 and Medvedev comes in with a heat enormous.
I clocked it at 125 miles per hour on a second serve break. to one in the fourth to get the winning serve and there were a couple of moments where Medvedev was able to find that and there was only one moment where I can remember his double fault, which was on one of the match points at five three in the fourth before Med had ended up sealing the deal, most of Madrid's double faults were in the first set and five threes in the fourth, I think the vast majority of them, so I think the 10 double faults. number I don't think it cost him anything, not even a little bit, remember, I think you have to look at that statistic and you have to understand, okay, did it have an effect on the game and if you double fault three times and still hold on?
Medvedev did in his
opening service game, it tells you something, it tells you something, but it doesn't tell you that Medvedev, that the double fault number is a number that played an important role in the match, something else before going into something . One of the reference patterns we should talk about is the serve and volley. Alcaraz's serve on the volley and one of the main story lines here was obviously whether Medvedev is going to make some kind of tactical adjustment to disrupt the Alcaraz serve volley and the Alcaraz smash. You already know surf plus. drop shot and the surf plus approach which is so effective there were no adjustments here and I think overall I don't think I've said it yet so I'll say it now I don't think this match was that important Medved had to adjust tactically as he executed better tennis and Alcaraz performed at a lower level than in the last two matches.
I think it was mainly about execution and also maybe attacked some tactical errors even from Alcaraz, which, uh, we will. I'm talking about yeah, mainly about how well Medvedev was playing less, so the adjustments in my opinion and the serve volley was a good example. I thought Alcarez's volley serve was incredibly successful. The statistics confirm this when watching the match, proving that Medved won this. Very little to do with him figuring out how to beat Alcaraz's service volley. Now, in the second set, Medvedev made a couple of great returns at 1-4 to break for five, one, yes, in the fourth set, at 2-3, when Neb would have gotten the break. of serve that would end up winning him the match if he won a couple of points at the end of that game thanks to a confident volley from Valkyrie.
Yes, he even saved a game point by hitting the outside of the line with a cross-court backhand return that was clean. winner But ultimately, you know Alcaraz missed a pretty easy volley on game point to eliminate him from the game. I'm talking, you know, this must have been maybe after juice number seven or eight that I'm talking about and then it failed. Another forehand volley which was a bit difficult but he almost missed it so much it was quite surprising and then at break point Alcaraz on the advantage side hits a deflected kick, a pretty bad kick serve, a pretty return easy for Medvedev to just hit.
It was low at Alcaraz's feet and Alcaraz couldn't make the Folly half, so there were definitely a number of points there where Alcaraz's volley missed, one of them was a pretty routine volley, so it wasn't much which Medvedev did, but overall It was just a really effective tactic. What caught my attention was that in an ideal world, I think Alcaraz is using it a lot more on side two than in the ad because he has the wide portion on side two that actually gives Med what he would have done . it's a big deal, but I think because Medvedev was beating it from the back of the court, that's where Al caraz started doing the kick serve on the ad court, kicks are about open serves and volleys from of that, and in reality it is not like that. so effective, so when I point out some of these plays I think three of these four points I'm pointing out on the advertising side that Medvedev was able to win with Valcaraz's serve on the volley.
What is significant to me is not that. Medved made some sort of adjustment, but rather Alcaraz felt the need to volley on the advertising side, where he just isn't as effective and I'm curious to see if he did more on the advertising side in this match compared to Indian . Wells and Wimbledon, I think so, which has to do with what was happening from the baseline, so let's talk about what was happening from the baseline. For me the MVP was Medvedev's backhand down the line, he just had an incredible feel for that shot in this match and he made sure to hit it every time he had the chance to do so and that was just a shot that Alcaraz looked much slower to cover compared to any other ball.
Is it because Alcaraz always cheats and left himself a little too late to find forehands? It may be so. It was because Medvedev's backhand down the line is exceptionally difficult to read, so I think that's a big part of it, but it seemed like that shot was incredibly accurate by Daniel and it was the shot that Alcaraz took a step to get to once and for all. again and once again not to mention the forehand On The Run alcarez misses a good amount here and even if he doesn't miss it that's where I think Medvedev was getting into a good rhythm of just change change change change like change direction to maintain alcaraz moving, he does it very well, but he has to start somewhere.
I think he often starts with good backhands down the line and then you know you have a chance like a forehand crosscourt. Medved right on the line changes and, uh, what Medvedev wants is an open court. to switch down the line and he wants Pace to work with him, so Medvedev's backhand down the line, Alcaraz's forehand cross on the run is usually quite strong and now Medvedev's forehand down the line has everything what he wants, he has the open court, he has Pace coming in and now we can change direction in that open court to create offense.
Medvedev's forehand was and has been looking very good throughout the tournament and that's the big barometer with him, that's what got me so excited about his play in March and April until when he won. Rome what got me so excited about his game was the way he was able to generate and damage on the forehand and I thought that was because or I think it was because he made the adjustment to the technology of him going to the softer rope now. I don't really know what to think because that disappeared for a while. His defeat at Roland Garros is a big problem.
It wasn't something that was working very well for him at Wimbledon beforehand. It wasn't something that looked great this summer, but he looked good in the Demon match or he looked good in the Rublev match. His ability to take four hands on the court and take advantage of those advantageous positions by doing specific finishing damage was very good, so those things helped him from the baseline, which hurt him. Alcaraz from the baseline, in my opinion, was playing too fast, he didn't take off the rhythm, he didn't play with the same measured patients that he had against Medvedev in their two previous meetings, for some reason, in the first two sets, this was a consistent, very consistent problem. and it was a problem in the big moments of the fourth set alcaraz had a lead of 4015 in the game 2-3 and alcaraz made a forced forehand error from the middle of the court that went wide, which was a very, very mistake serious with his forehand um, when Medvedev hits you with a backhand without rhythm deep right down the middle, what Alcaraz had done in the past was basically return it, now you know, maybe it's a little harsh because it wasn't the worst ball for attack, but look. forehand in four stars inthat ball 40 30.
Much worse, much worse case, that's the point where if I had a video to show you, that's the point I would show you with Alcaraz completely losing his mind about what he was doing. Medvedev in the previous meetings, what was taking the pace away, was a right-wing rally in which they both hit very, very hard and grunted very, very loudly and it got louder and louder and louder and louder and louder until Alcaraz It failed very, very badly. and it was like, oh what talk about being fooled, that's exactly what Medvedev wants, he wants Alcaraz to try to hit the ball a hundred miles an hour, that's what he wants, he loves that the more he gets it, the better he'll play against. he.
You know what he was doing before against Neil, he was very, very solid, very patient, no unforced errors and found the perfect moment, being very selective as to when to inject that pace near the sideline and then come in, never giving too much. rhythm for no reason because if you give Medved a rhythm, it helps Medford have missed less, it helps him create more openings, open more court and it also makes Alcoraz obviously more erratic because he is trying to hit the ball harder, very, very simple, so the baseline unforced error difference or the baseline consistency difference was a thing in this match, it wasn't a thing in the previous two matches.
Remember how I started this video talking about how there were paths to victory for Medvedev and he just didn't end up playing well, the two I'm really talking about are first serve effectiveness or first serve damage discrepancy and discrepancy in consistency of serve. baseline, those are the two where Medveda finds its advantage and before they played. In a match it was completely reasonable to expect Medvedev to have those two advantages, but he didn't and that's why it was so difficult for us to figure out how Daniel was going to beat Carlos Alcaraz, because those advantages simply didn't exist, but he did exist in this match, look the unforced error count here and it was only 38-32. but I think that's a little misleading because alcaraz lived at the net, he was at the net 70 times 54 for 70 at the net and when you get to score a ton you end up not getting hooked on unforced errors, right, they don't score on the forced. mistakes Medvedev, who falls behind much more, you know, 38 net approaches, that's less than good, no, it's not less than half, sorry, but it's close to half of what Alcaraz did.
He will make more forced errors, so I think if you take the base rallies and you scored, he made a percentage what percentage of the base rallies for Alcaraz ended in an unforced error what percentage of the base points for Medved ended in unforced errors. forced would really find that advantage for Medvedev and you could say that that means he's bad or aggressive, you could say that's how it should normally be when these two play and the fact that it wasn't like that in the last two was a bit of a part strange, but I also think it's up to Alcaraz to play a little. more patient or maybe Medvedev was creating so much pressure and so much damage from behind because he was playing a lot with his forehand because he was going down the line more often from both wings, but being exceptionally effective when doing it with his backhand, maybe.
That's what made Alcaraz feel the added pressure of playing with more speed and more kind of unnecessary or unnecessary is a loaded word, but I guess more risk, more pace. Medvedev's baseline, uh, definitely caused Alkaraz to play some bad shots as well. Denial's defense was so tough that it kept the ball so deep that it was a classic Medvedev bass liner where it's really hard to find a way to win in any opening without working very hard and patiently on the point, and there were some huge moments in Alcaraz definitely played some bad drop shots and Medvedev, as always, is really good when he can leave drop shots last.
I'll end with this, you know, Daniel was incredible mentally in this match, he deserves tons of credit, he was incredibly stable emotionally. I never got I was never negative even in the third set and I went back to work in the fourth and uh just seemed to have laser focus never really had a lapse so this was a throwback to a very and I don't know. When was the last time I saw him very com? You know, a machine like a robotic, uh, robotic laser. Focus for Medvedev in this match. It's been a while since I saw Alcaraz.
You know I have some bones to pick in the game of love. in the second set it was really bad, where he was up 40 30 he made a forehand unforced error, then he had a service winner on Deuce, but then he made a backhand due to a forced error, he made a ground error on a pretty tough return. in the middle, so I didn't say he wasn't forced on two and then had a right drop shot. Miss Wide Open Court lowered the break point, so it's a pretty bad series of points there where the only point he won was a service winner and then another. than that, they were mistakes from behind very, very quickly, which was a disappointment and it felt like the first step snowballed there and then the fourth set, you can't really ignore the decoupling, the fourth set was not a set like that.
Medvedev dominated and it was a set where Alcaraz, after the first two sets, I think, with the exception of a couple of lapses, played the right tactics most of the time in terms of staying solid enough from the line. fund and give something to Medvedev. slow stuff uh and he actually did better attacking the second serve much better in that department and it earned him some chances but he was 0 for six on break points and in the game where Medvedev broke serve alcaraz had seven game points like that Look at that stretch from 2-3 or from one all and then to two three and then, even when Medvedev was trying to serve the match at 5'3, there are multiple return games and a great service game here where Alcaraz I had multiple opportunities to win the game and he didn't, so it was a pretty weak fourth set for Alcaraz and a decisive fourth set for Medvedev and the important points were pretty lopsided if you look at how that fourth set played out.
So that's the anatomy of Daniel Medvedev's victory over Carlos Alcaraz. Tomorrow I will have a pre-match analysis of the final, as well as a
post-match analysis of the women's final. I hope you enjoyed, don't forget to subscribe. I'll see. you next time thanks
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