- For the second time in the Open era, no former Grand Slam champion has reached the quarter-finals in a major
- Andrey Rublev will face 2019 runner-up and longtime friend Daniil Medvedev
- In his maiden Grand Slam quarterfinal, speedy Alex De Minaur will face the highest seed remained in the draw, Dominic Thiem
NEW YORK, USA – It’s the first time since 1997 that no Grand Slam champion advanced to the last eight at the US Open. Briwtwatchsports previews the last, intriguing, men’s quarter-finals.
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Andrey Rublev  v Daniil Medvedev  | H2H: Medvedev leads 3-0
Andrey Rublev will face his longtime friend and 2019 runner-up Daniil Medvedev in a clash between two of the six players aged 24 or younger to reach the men’s singles quarterfinals. Medvedev, the only player in the last eight without dropping a set, confessed he finds it tricky to play a friend.
“It’s more unconsciously because consciously you prepare for your match, try to win it. Unconsciously you know he’s your friend since eight, know him already 16 years. There are some things going on for sure in your mentality, but you always try to get rid of it.”
They know each other since they were children. After their fourth-round victory, they both remembered a junior match when they were nine or ten years old and Medvedev began to lob in almost every point just to stay in the match.
In 2013, they went for a walk visiting Times Square, having Jelena Ostapenko with them. Rublev recounted what happened that night.
“It was nice memory. I don’t remember if we had dinner together, but for sure we went for a walk all together from Times Square. I think it was already more than 10 p.m., all the shops were closed. We decided to go to Central Park. It was not good idea because as soon as we arrive there, some guys were, like, behind the trees trying to follow us. As soon as we saw it, we went back to the hotel (smiling).”
In their junior years, they confessed to be crazier on court. Now they enjoy a similar, enhanced game-wise maturity.
Rublev is a better player than three years ago when he made the quarter-finals here. He tries to dictate his game with flashy serves and returns, using his forehand to shorten the rallies. Medvedev plays a different, counter-attacking tennis. Having the IQ of a little genius, he makes his opponents in trouble, adapting to their style then deciding how to play. Shot selection became much more effective despite his vast array of possibilities. One can expect a tricky, long, entertaining battle.
Prediction: Medvedev in five sets.
Alex De Minaur  v Dominic Thiem 
Alex De Minaur celebrated his first career Grand Slam quarterfinal. The reward is a clash against the highest-seeded player yet in the draw, Dominic Thiem. The three-time Grand Slam finalist has a huge chance to seal his maiden triumph in the second time in the Open Era (since 1968) a Grand Slam tournament quarter-final does not include a former Major champion. It also occurred at 2003 Wimbledon.
The Australian, No.21 seed, understands he has to stand his ground, stay solid, and look for any kind of opportunity to dictate the game.
As he admitted in the post-match press conference after the fourth-round win,
“If I could definitely blast people off the court, then trust me, I would rather do that. This running thing gets tiring, that’s for sure. Look, I’ve got to deal with what God gave me. He didn’t give me the best physique, I’m not as strong or as tall as other people so I have to find ways to win. That’s the way I win.”
De Minaur, fast and accurate in his movements throughout the court, will need every bit of his speed against Thiem, who possesses enough force to hammer every ball coming on his side. When he was a skinny teenager, he lost to Thiem at 2017 US Open This time, he’s a man. it will be a different story, probably with the same ending.
Prediction: Thiem in four sets.
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