Novak Djokovic acknowledged he had rarely faced the sort of barrage a resilient Daniil Medvedev used so effectively to shock the world number one 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 in the Cincinnati Masters semifinals on Saturday.
After losing the first set, Medvedev changed his approach midway through the second set, the Russian going for broke with pretty much every shot, particularly on second serve.
The complexion of the match changed in a heartbeat as Medvedev overpowered the previously dominant Djokovic.
“I did not experience this too many times in my career that someone goes so big on second serves and just serves two first serves basically for an extended period of time,” the vanquished Serbian told reporters.
“When someone serves a 128 miles-per-hour second serve and doesn’t make too many doubles faults and goes for every shot, you just have to put your hat down and congratulate him.”
Medvedev explained why he had switched tactics.
“I was so tired in the first set and playing Novak, I thought I’m not going to be able to keep the intensity,” the world number eight said in a courtside interview with ESPN.
“Then there was one momentum change in the second and I just started playing unbelievable.”
Medvedev added that it was par for the course to go for broke on his second serve when trailing in a match.
“Novak was destroying me on the second serve so at one moment, at three-all, love-30, I’m like ‘okay, what’s the matter.’”