Medvedev rounding into form, into semis at Ohio

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MASON, Ohio — Top-ranked Daniil Medvedev moved into the Western & Southern Open semifinals Friday as he prepares for his US Open title defense, beating 11th-seeded Taylor Fritz 7-6 (1), 6-3.

Medvedev, the 26-year-old Russian banned from Wimbledon for his country’s invasion of Ukraine, won the 2019 Western & Southern Open. He looked sharper Friday than he did last week in Montreal in a round-of-32 loss to Nick Kyrgios.

Medvedev will face No. 7 Stefanos Tsitsipas in the semifinals. Tsitsipas outlasted John Isner 7-6 (5), 5-7, 6-3.

“Sometimes, first rounds in Masters are super tough,” Medvedev said. “Like I had Kyrgios in Montreal. Every match is a test, and so far, I have been doing great here. Usually, the conditions here are quite similar to the US Open, and when I do well here, I play good in the US Open, so so far, it’s looking this way.”

Unseeded American Madison Keys, also a 2019 winner in the event, advanced to the women’s semifinals with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina. Keys has not dropped a set in four matches, including her upset of top-ranked Iga Swiatek in the round of 16.

Keys will face two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, who cruised past Ajla Tomljanovic 6-2, 6-3. The unseeded Kvitova, ranked 28th, will be Keys’ third consecutive opponent with a Grand Slam title to her credit.

“I think that’s just how tennis is,” Keys said. “We have plenty of players who are not seeded or in the low [rankings] teens who have been on a tear all year, and they are still, in my opinion, top players or they are former champions. I just don’t think that there is any easy draw, even if you’re not playing the No. 1 or 2 player.”

Sixth-seeded Aryna Sabalenka beat Shuai Zhang 6-4, 7-6 (1).

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