Nostalgic Moments at Indian Wells as Tommy Paul Channels Stefan Edberg 2.0

Suddenly, in the chilly Indian Wells night, we thought we saw Stefan Edberg. Or, at least, its 2.0 version. It was only a mirage, the elegant Swede obviously not having made his return to the circuit at the age of 58, but Tommy Paul still offered a beautiful moment of nostalgia to lovers of the game around the ‘Before.

Saturday evening, the 26-year-old American, 17th in the world, was magnetized like never before by the net. 58 climbs in total (35 winners, or 60% success rate), including a handful of serves and volleys which gave Daniil Medvedev a hard time for a long time.

Clearly dominated in the first set, close to breaking in the second after having wasted two breaks in advance, from 4-0 to 5-5, the Russian finally escaped (1-6, 7-6 [3]6-2) and joins Carlos Alcaraz, winner of Jannik Sinner (1-6, 6-3, 6-2) a little earlier in the day, in the final of the Californian Masters 1000.

Paul attacks, Medvedev bends, adapts and escapes

The 4th in the world owes his salvation to his tactical and combative qualities in the heart of the storm, of course, but, also, to a small twist of fate, this left ankle of Paul which gave way during the tie-break of the second sleeve. The American lost the next four points on unforced errors (from 3-3 to 7-3), the set and a good part of his hopes.

Broken at the start of the third round after having his ankle bandaged, Brad Stine’s colt never regained the enthusiasm which had allowed him to crush Medvedev during the first half hour. Thanks to his exceptional forehand shooting quality, he immediately managed to take his opponent by the throat, advance in the court and finish, almost systematically, the points at the net.

On the return, he engaged in all the Russian’s second balls, generally aiming at the server’s zone, with deep returns, at his feet. Unable to free himself quickly enough, Medvedev, whose service lacked efficiency in these cold and slow conditions, won only one point out of eight in second balls in the first set and lost his first three engagements. Match.

Medvedev-Alcaraz, remake from the 2023 finals

Totally overwhelmed, the 28-year-old adjusted. He gradually found the right distance on the return, read better and anticipated Paul’s serves, gained solidity in the exchange and precision in his passing. He was rewarded with two breaks in a row at the start of the second round.

Suddenly less sovereign at the net, the American has not changed his game plan. On the contrary, he further increased his aggressiveness cursor (31 climbs in the second set). It was also a winning return and a winning volley which allowed him to break twice to come back from 4-0 to 5-5.

At 3-2, mini-break in his favor in the decisive game of the second set, Paul therefore slightly twisted his ankle. He then made four unforced errors. Returning to one set everywhere, Medvedev rode his “momentum” to break the start of the third set – while the American was leading 40-0 – thanks to yet another winning forehand passing.

Paul then didn’t have much left in his socks or in his forehand and the match ended with a solo jumper from Medvedev who will aim for a seventh Masters 1000 coronation on Sunday in a remake of the 2023 final. one year ago, Alcaraz had dominated the debates (6-3, 6-2). A victory which allowed the Spaniard to once again become world number 1.

2024-03-17 04:40:34
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