Daniil MEDVEDEV’s injury woes spell retirement as Jiri LEHECKA surges into Madrid Open semi-finals

Thursday, 02 May 2024 at 21:03
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Jiri Lehecka (No. 31) advanced to the semifinals of the Madrid Open after Daniil Medvedev's (No. 4) withdrawal. The 28-year-old Russian suffered discomfort in his right leg after just five games and was limited for the remainder of the set, leading him to retire with thoughts of defending his title at the Rome Open in a week.
The Czech player is in the semifinals of a Masters 1000 for the first time in his career and will face Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime. Lehecka came into the match with full confidence after defeating 5-times champion Rafael Nadal in straight sets.
However, Lehecka did not display his best tennis in this match, neither before nor after the injury. The 22-year-old player nonetheless kept up with Medvedev's pace during the early games of the match, where both held their serves without trouble. A lob shot by Medvedev in one of the exchanges caused his evident physical discomfort with just 15 minutes of play.
With the score at 3-2 in his favor, Medvedev called for a medical timeout and left the court to receive treatment on his right leg. Upon his return, it was evident from the beginning that the former world No. 1 was having trouble putting weight on his leg and was physically limited.
Next week, Medvedev defends the title at the Rome Open.
At the change of ends with the score at 4-3 in his favor, Medvedev again called for the physiotherapist while showing that he was still experiencing discomfort: "I'm feeling a bit better. But I'm so, so scared,” the former world No. 1 said.
Medvedev ultimately lost his service game in the ninth game and then the set 4-6, leading to his elimination in the quarterfinals and Madrid remaining his only Masters 1000 where he has not reached the semifinals.
Lehecka's victory allows him to reach his highest historical ranking as world No. 22, and in the semifinals, he will face Felix Auger-Aliassime, who is the only non-seeded player to reach the quarterfinals and who advanced directly after Jannik Sinner's withdrawal due to physical discomfort.

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