This will be a first between these two players.
Daniil Medvedev is competing in this Masters 1000 for the fourth year in a row. Before this edition, he had only managed to win his first match once. That was last year and he lifted the trophy (we remember his victory over Novak Djokovic in the semi-final).
Aljaz Bedene, meanwhile, had never made it to the final draw in Cincinnati before this season.
In this edition
Daniil Medvedev took advantage of his delicious ranking to skip the 1st round. The Russian, number 5 in the world, therefore made his second round match. It was against the American Marcos Giron (victory 6-4 6-4).
Aljaz Bedene had to go through qualifying to earn the right to play this Masters 1000 for the first time in his career. To get there, the Slovenian won against two Den(n)is: Denis Kudla and Dennis Novak. In the final draw, he won the scalps of Cristian Garin and Taylor Fritz.
Without beating around the bush, Daniil Medvedev must win this match. He is in the Top 5 and he is the defending champion. His confidence would not appreciate a premature elimination, just before the US Open.
However, even if I do see the Russian going home with the win, I don’t have a lot of confidence in that prediction.
Aljaz Bedene is a good backcourt player who, like Daniil Medvedev, commits few faults. He takes advantage of his regularity to make his opponents crack first. And when he is confident, as he seems to be this week, he allows himself a few very effective shots.
If we combine the current form of Aljaz Bedene, and the revival of Daniil Medvedev, this could give us a balanced cocktail. Because yes, the first opponent of the Russian was not really on the level. In spite of that, he managed to attack him and take advantage of his sometimes weak second balls (besides, Medvedev only gained 42% of points on them).
So, obviously Daniil Medvedev is the favorite of this match and I see him winning. To support this, we must highlight the many opportunities that Aljaz Bedene has to concede. 12 break balls against Garin (for a small 30% of points on his seconds and 13 double faults). This improved slightly against Taylor Fritz with 4 break balls. But his first balls pass with difficulty (rarely more than 60%) and he flirts a little too much with the 50% points on his second serve.
Daniil Medvedev should therefore have many opportunities. And I also expect him to increase his level of play. This should enable him to win this match. Tadam.
I must confess that I am not against seeing Aljaz Bedene titillate the Russian and take him in a 3rd set. Just to see how the number 5 is doing when he is pushed to his limits. Sadistic, me?
Prediction: Daniil Medvedev wins