Welcome to Tennis Elbow, the column that looks ahead to the latest in tennis. Today, Charles Blouin-Gascon previews day 8 of the 2020 French Open.
Has there been a more disappointing player in men’s tennis than Daniil Medvedev?
Since the ATP came back into our lives, the Russian has not enjoyed results worthy of his lofty talents and No. 5 ranking in the world. Oh sure, in the grand scheme of things Medvedev’s 2020 season will live on like a success: that’s what happens if and when you make a Grand Slam semifinal, which he did last month at the US Open.
The biggest men’s disappoint of the year thus far (in this shortened season) has to be Medvedev. Has an absolute breakout year in ‘19. This year, reaches rd 4 at AO, 1/2 USO & 1st at #RG20. Great year for most but when we’re talking the “next in line” candidate, not good enough.
— Tennis Connected (@TennisConnected) October 3, 2020
But zoom in further and, well, things aren’t all that rosy.
Since tennis returned, Medvedev has competed in four events and has merely done okay. He’s made the Cincinnati quarterfinals and US Open semifinals, but the latter result has to sting: with no Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and, suddenly, Novak Djokovic, the men’s title was there for the taking. And against eventual winner Dominic Thiem in the semifinal, Medvedev just kind of flubbed it. It happens, but it’s just too bad that it happened right there and then.
Problems on clay courts
On clay courts, however, it’s been a different story: the Russian followed a first round loss against Ugo Humbert in Hamburg with a…first round loss against Marton Fucsovics in Roland-Garros.
In a vacuum, none of this is disastrous; plenty of players would love for an US Open semifinal to be considered a disappointing result.
But of course, you can’t always look at things in a vacuum. This new season was supposed to be the one where Medvedev confirmed his place amid men’s tennis’s royalty. After his rampage during the 2019 season, where our guy went on to capture four titles and added another five finals berths, expecting more from the 24-year-old was normal. In this way, making the US Open semifinal, an event where he had reached the final during his scorching run in 2019, was expected.
Instead, things have been merely okay. Ultimately, this is probably a good problem to have: if this were anyone else, we would be fine with things being okay.
But Medvedev isn’t like anyone else.
Moving on, we have your viewing guide for today below. As always, you can find the entire day 8 schedule here.
Court Suzanne Lenglen: Alexander Zverev  vs Jannik Sinner (Second match of the day)
Has anyone during this first week impressed as much as young Jannik Sinner did? The 19-year-old Italian has somehow turned the massive feat of making the fourth round at a Grand Slam into just a casual day at the office.
In the person of Alexander Zverev, Sinner gets an opponent who should be out of his class. We saw how that worked out in his first round win over 11th-seed David Goffin.
Court Philippe Chatrier: Elina Svitolina  vs Caroline Garcia (Third match of the day)
It always feels like Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia is lurking, ready to pounce on others’ mistakes or, when they’re having off-days, simply grabbing a win that seemed just a little too far fetched on paper. This fourth round match, against third-seed Elina Svitolina, feels like exactly that.
Court Suzanne Lenglen: Diego Schwartzman [12 vs Lorenzo Sonego (Third match of the day)
Can this be Diego Schwartzman’s big breakthrough? The 28-year-old has done well and taken advantage of what’s been a pretty easy draw. The good times should keep rolling for at least another round for the Argentine before a likely quarterfinal berth against Dominic Thiem.
Follow Charles Blouin-Gascon on Twitter @RealCBG