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Daniil Medvedev looks to have fitness back in his game after a lackluster start to the new year

Leader after winning the Western

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Ohio’s MASON (AP) — Top-ranked Daniil Medvedev defeated 11th-seeded Taylor Fritz 7-6 (1), 6-3 on Friday to go to the Western & Southern Open quarterfinals as he gets ready to defend his U.S. Open crown.

The 2019 Western & Southern Open was won by Medvedev, a 26-year-old Russian who was barred from Wimbledon due to his nation’s invasion of Ukraine. He was more alert on Friday than he was when he lost to Nick Kyrgios in the round of 32 last week in Montreal.

In the semifinals, Medvedev will take against No. 7 Stefanos Tsitsipas. John Isner was defeated by Tsitsipas 7-6 (5), 5-7, 6-3.

First rounds in the Masters may be really difficult, according to Medvedev. “Like Kyrgios I had in Montreal. Every game is a test, and up until this point, I’ve been performing well here. Since the circumstances here are typically pretty comparable to those at the U.S. Open, when I do well here, I typically play well there. So far, things are looking this way.

Unseeded American Madison Keys, who also won the competition in 2019, defeated Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina 6-2, 6-4 to advance to the women’s quarterfinals. Keys has won four games without dropping a set, including a round-16 upset of top-ranked Iga Swiatek.

Petra Kvitova, a two-time Wimbledon winner who easily defeated Ajla Tomljanovic, will be Keys’ opponent. The 28th-ranked, unseeded Kvitova will be Keys’ third consecutive opponent with a Grand Slam victory.

Keys opined, “I believe that’s just how tennis is. “We have a ton of players who have been dominant all year who are not seeded or in the low teens of the rankings and who are still, in my opinion, elite players or former champions. Even though you aren’t playing the No. 1 or No. 2 player, I simply don’t believe that there is any easy draw.

Shuai Zhang was defeated by sixth-seeded Aryna Sabalenka 6-4, 7-6. (1).