Defending Western & Southern Open champion Daniil Medvedev will have his hands full Wednesday afternoon if he hopes to keep his title defence dreams alive. The Russian will play eighth seed Roberto Bautista Agut in what promises to be a gruelling battle on Grandstand at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
Medvedev and Bautista Agut are two of the most solid players on the ATP Tour, driving opponents crazy by neutralising all the offence thrown at them. Now the pair will try to outwit one another for a spot in the semi-finals of this ATP Masters 1000, the first tournament since play was suspended in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bautista Agut won the pair’s only previous ATP Head2Head meeting 6-3, 6-4 in the 2017 Chennai final. Then 20, Medvedev was World No. 99 and competing in his first ATP Tour final. He has since claimed seven tour-level trophies, including two (2019 Cincinnati and Shanghai) at the ATP Masters 1000 level.
World No. 1 Novak Djokovic will try to make the semi-finals of the Western & Southern Open for the eighth time when he faces big-hitting German Jan-Lennard Struff. The World No. 34, who is into his first Masters 1000 quarter-final, will hope to challenge the top seed.
“He’s one of the best in the game. He’s so good and still there are chances to beat him, but he’s [20-0] this year. It’s crazy, just crazy,” Struff said. “But the more you win, there is always a chance that you lose at some point. Maybe he has the aim to go undefeated in this short season, but you never know what will happen.”
Djokovic leads their ATP Head2Head series 3-0, but Struff pushed the Serbian to four sets in the first round of this year’s Australian Open. That was one of only five matches this season that Djokovic did not win in straight sets. Struff will look to take advantage of the quick Flushing Meadows hard courts as he did against Alex de Minaur, Denis Shapovalov and David Goffin.
Reigning Nitto ATP Finals champion Stefanos Tsitsipas had not won a Western & Southern Open match entering the week. But the Greek star will play first-time Masters 1000 quarter-finalist Reilly Opelka for a spot in the last four. Tsitsipas beat another big server, John Isner, on Tuesday evening. He has never faced Opelka.
“I expect a difficult fight, a difficult battle. He has played John a few times and he holds a positive record against him, so I’m expecting better. I feel like there’s nothing wrong to expect better tomorrow,” Tsitsipas said. “I just need to be very well-prepared for that one. I’m sure there are going to be more rallies from the baseline and the serve is going to be more difficult to return, so I have to keep my focus at an even higher level.”
Former World No. 3 Milos Raonic, who ousted Andy Murray in the third round, will try to maintain his good form against Serbian Filip Krajinovic. The Canadian will be playing a confident opponent, as Krajinovic lost a combined six games in his past two matches against second seed Dominic Thiem and Hungarian qualifier Marton Fucsovics.
ORDER OF PLAY – WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 26, 2020
GRANDSTAND start 11:00 am
Not Before 5:00 pm
COURT 17 Not Before 1:00 pm
COURT 10 start 11:00 am
Jean-Julien Rojer / Horia Tecau vs [WC] Steve Johnson / Austin Krajicek
 Wesley Koolhof / Nikola Mektic vs Pablo Carreno Busta / Alex de Minaur
Jamie Murray / Neal Skupski vs  Kevin Krawietz / Andreas Mies
TBA –  Rajeev Ram / Joe Salisbury vs  Marcel Granollers / Horacio Zeballos