Quick out of the blocks in attack and a brick wall in defence, the 25-year-old gave the Australian few chances at making any real inroads until the closing stages as he clinched the pair’s first ATP Head2Head encounter 6-2, 6-4.
A runner-up at the event in Montreal two years ago, the Russian continued his affinity for North American hard courts to reach his eighth ATP Masters 1000 quarter-final. He awaits the winner of his Wimbledon conqueror – seventh seed Hubert Hurkacz – or Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili.
Duckworth was enjoying an equal career-best run at an ATP Masters 1000 event, having won through two rounds of qualifying before posting impressive straight-sets wins over Taylor Fritz and last week’s Citi Open champion Jannik Sinner. But a first victory over a Top 10 opponent in nine attempts proved a bridge too far against Medvedev.
“He was playing good, especially in the beginning. I managed to get a few tight games, managed to get ahead. I think he lost his rhythm a little bit so that was well my fault also,” Medvedev said. “I managed to be ahead throughout the rest of the match and then – it’s very normal, it’s the same for everybody when your back’s against the wall – I served for the match, he played much better than before.
“He managed to be the closer and well played from him because it’s putting pressure on your opponent. I managed to keep this pressure out there and really happy with the win.”
Having undergone eight surgeries throughout his career, Duckworth left with much to celebrate in what was shaping as his finest season. For his feats this week, he was projected to crack the Top 70 for the first time.
The 29-year-old Australian held his own when the rallies extended beyond five shots but Medvedev consistently did the damage early as he claimed 46 points to his opponent’s 24 in rallies that lasted less than five shots. The Russian won 84 per cent of first-serve points and 12 of his 20 winners were aces.
Don’t Forget Duckworth! Aussie Proving A Point In Toronto
The World No. 2’s only wobble came as he served for the match at 5-2. Duckworth elevated his game to summon his first break point and he and converted it to extend his stay before Medvedev closed it out at the second time of asking.
“When you face someone for the first time it’s a bit tougher and we’d never practised together so I didn’t know what to expect,” Medvedev said. “Sometimes you just need to find things during the match. Even when you play someone for the 10th time every day is different so it’s always about finding the right spot during the match.”
In the final match of the night, seventh seed Hurkacz held off Georgian Basilashvili in two hours and 38 minutes to book his place in the quarter-finals. The World No. 13 secured his third ATP Masters 1000 quarter-final, all on North American hard courts, having progressed as far at Indian Wells two years ago and after his title run in Miami this year.
In a dominant night on serve, Hurkacz finished with 30 winners of which 23 were aces. He won 88 per cent of first-serve points and saved six of seven break points.