In a lively match, World No. 2 Daniil Medvedev was forced to save three set points in the first set, before he raised his level in the second set, downing the French qualifier 7-6(7), 6-4 to reach the semi-finals in Paris.
The World No. 103 battled past Spaniards Pablo Carreno Busta and Carlos Alcaraz in a fairytale journey as he reached his maiden ATP Masters 1000 quarter-final on home soil. But the 21-year-old was unable to write another chapter of his dramatic run against a resilient Medvedev in their first ATP Head2Head meeting.
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Gaston squandered three set points in the first set on serve at 5-4, 40/0 and then came within two points of the opener three times in the first-set tie-break as the Russian combated the Frenchman’s drop shots and variety, eventually securing victory after one hour and 47 minutes.
“When [the atmosphere] is against you, you need to face it,” Medvedev said. “You need to try to win no matter what. Even when it is against me, I think, ‘Well, I will try to beat my opponent and the crowd’ because there is no other choice. I am kind of happy about myself, but it was definitely a high-level match.”
Medvedev is the reigning champion in Paris but has been made to work hard this week. The second seed was unable to convert three set points in the first set and a 5-1 lead in his opening match against Ilya Ivashka, before moving through in straight sets. He then rallied from a set down to overcome #NextGenATP American Sebastian Korda.
The US Open titlist, who fired 13 aces against Gaston, is bidding to win his fifth tour-level trophy of the season, including a second Masters 1000 crown, after triumphing in Toronto in August.
With his victory, the 25-year-old maintained his slim chance of denying Novak Djokovic a record seventh year-end No. 1 finish in the FedEx ATP Rankings. However, the Serbian will earn year-end World No. 1 honours if he defeats Hubert Hurkacz on Saturday.
Djokovic To Play Hurkacz In Paris Semi-finals
The second seed, who also lifted trophies in Marseille and Mallorca this season, will next face Norway’s Casper Ruud or World No. 4 Alexander Zverev in the last four. All three will compete at the season finale, to be held this year at the Pala Alpitour in Turin from 14-21 November.
On Medvedev’s semi-final match, the Russian said: “It is going to be tough. Sascha is in great shape. He has won a lot of matches. Casper is playing amazing and I am really happy to see him in Turin because he has put in a big effort.”
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In an entertaining first set, Gaston disrupted Medvedev’s rhythm as he mixed his low slice with his topspin forehand. However, from 5-4, 40/0, he was unable to close out the set on serve and then could not see off the Russian Russian in the tie-break, failing to convert a 5/4 lead as Medvedev zoned in to move ahead.
The Russian marched into a 4-0 lead in the second set and despite being pegged back to 4-3, he was able to see off the plucky lefty on serve to advance.
Gaston was the lowest-ranked quarter-finalist at the Masters 1000 tournament since then-World No. 121 Michael Llodra in 2012. The 21-year-old will compete at the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals, to be held at the Allianz Cloud in Milan, from 9-13 November.
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Medvedev now holds an 18-1 indoor record since the start of his run to the Paris title in 2020, with his only defeat coming against Dusan Lajovic in Rotterdam.