When you win your first Masters 1000 and go on a three-week roll the way Daniil Medvedev did during the hard court summer, you do more than pocket a big cheque.
You can bask in the satisfaction of a job well done. And you also take an appreciable jump in the rankings.
Medvedev, just 23, reached the final at the Citi Open in D.C., reached the final at the Rogers Cup in Montreal. And to cap off his leadup to the US Open, he won in Cincinnati, beating David Goffin in the final.
It was the first time for both in a final at that level. And even though Medvedev was dead in his feet – even cramping, and trying not to show it – it was clearly meant to be.
Medvedev was No. 10 when his hard-court summer began. He thought he’d be there awhile. He’s now in the top 5 for the first time.
He was No. 8 in the race to London, with a few players right behind him. Now he’s a solid No. 5 with a lot of breathing room.
The Russian won the second title of his career a year ago this week in Winston-Salem. He won’t defend that title; he’ll lie in bed and watch TV for a few days and recover before revving it up again for the US Open.
He was 43-24 last year, during a very good season. He’s already won more matches, with a 44-16 record, than he did all of 2018. And he’s already won more prize money in 2019 than he had in his entire career, up to this season.
If Medvedev recovers well, you’d expect him to go further at the US Open than he did a year ago, when he beat Stefanos Tsitsipas in the second round and lost in the third round to Borna Coric.
ON THE UPSWING
Daniil Medvedev (RUS): No. 8 ==========> No. 5 (He thought getting to the top 10 was a big deal, and that he’d have to wait awhile to take that next rankings leap. But after three great weeks in North American, he’s there).
Gael Monfils (FRA): No. 15 ==========> No. 13 (It’s been two years since the Frenchman was this high in the rankings).
— ATP Media Info (@ATPMediaInfo) August 19, 2019
Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN): No. 21 ==========> No. 19 (The 19-year-old’s ranking now matches his age. And even though he went out in the first round in Cincinnati, he is now the No. 1 player in Canada, in a very competitive field).
Guido Pella (ARG): No. 22 ==========> No. 20 (It’s been a long journey, but the 29-year-old is in the top 20 for the first time in his career).
Lucas Pouille (FRA): No. 31 ==========> No. 26 (He’d need another player ranked ahead of him to pull out before the US Open draw, but he might have done enough to improve his seeding considerably, and avoid a top-8 seed in the third round).
Richard Gasquet (FRA): No. 56 ==========> No. 34 (Gasquet, at 33, still has some moves left as he may well have moved himself into a seeded spot with a great Cincinnati. He didn’t even start his season until May, after groin surgery).
Andrey Rublev (RUS): No. 70 ==========> No. 47 (After back woes last year and to start 2019, this dangerous Russian has ambitions to do what his two young countrymen have done this year – make the top 10).
Miomir Kecmanovic (SRB): No. 58 ==========> No. 49 (There aren’t many teenagers in the top 50. There is Kecmanovic, 19. And there’s the fellow 19-year-old who beat him in the 2016 US Open final, Auger-Aliassime. And here they are. Auger-Aliassime has just broken into the top 20. Kecmanovic beat Auger-Aliassime – and Alexander Zverev – in Cincy to break in for the first time. He began the 2019 season ranked No. 131).
Yoshihito Nishioka (JPN): No. 77 ==========> No. 59 (Nishioka, a super character, had the win of his life against the superstar from his country, a less-than 100 per cent Kei Nishikori, in Cincinnati. The 23-year-old lefty, just 5-foot-7, is one spot away from his career high. He memorably tore his ACL during a match against Jack Sock in Miami in 2017, missed the rest of the season. and has clawed back to where he was).
Aljaz Bedene (SLO): No. 90 ==========> No. 80 (Bedene won the Portoroz Challenger in his new/old homeland, Slovenia, last week).
Brayden Schnur (CAN): No. 95 ==========> No. 92 (The Canadian reaches another career high after making the third round of the Vancouver Challenger. He opted to skip Winston-Salem to get himself to 100 per cent physically for his first US Open – his first time making it straight into a Grand Slam).
ON THE DOWNSWING
Kei Nishikori (JPN): No. 5 ==========> No. 7 (The Japanese star was a little injured, then he got sick in Cincinnati. Not the greatest US Open prep).
Juan Martin del Potro (ARG): No. 12 ==========> No. 16 (Rehab from knee surgery apparently is going well. But no timetable yet on the star-crossed Argentine’s return to the court).
Kevin Anderson (RSA): No. 14 ==========> No. 17 (Anderson has entered, and pulled out of, four summer hard-court tournaments now because of his right knee. We’ll see if he can make New York).
Milos Raonic (CAN): No. 20 ==========> No. 22 (Will he play the US Open, where he reached the round of 16 a year ago? We’ll see).
Marin Cilic (CRO): No. 18 ==========> No. 23 (The rankings tumble continues for the former US Open champion, who was No. 3 a year and a half ago and began the 2019 season at No. 7. It’s as low as he’s been since just before Wimbledon in 2014).
Denis Shapovalov (CAN): No. 34 ==========> No. 38 (The Canadian looks to be a “dangerous floater” in New York – but only if he starts playing better).
Daniel Evans (GBR): No. 44 ==========> No. 58 (Evans went from the qualifying to the title at the Vancouver Challenger a year ago, winning three five-setters including a third-set tiebreak win in the final against Jason Kubler. He was ranked No. 310 at the time and leaped nearly 100 spots. But he got Philipp Kohlschreiber in the first round of Cincinnati – a much bigger event – last week and lost. But the damage was only 14 spots).
Pablo Carreno Busta (ESP): No. 53 ==========> No. 64
Marton Fucsovics (HUN): No. 57 ==========> No. 65 (Fucsovics got to a career best No. 31 after Indian Wells. But he’s been sliding down a bit since and lost his openers in both Montreal and Cincinnati).
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA): No. 64 ==========> No. 66
Leonardo Mayer (ARG): No. 82 ==========> No. 93
Marius Copil (ROU): No. 85 ==========> No. 96
Paolo Lorenzi (ITA): No. 118 ==========> No. 136
Hyeon Chung (KOR): No. 136 ==========> No. 151 (The former No. 19, still just 23, was out more than five months with back woes before returning in Asia a few weeks ago. He pulled out a win against Vasek Pospisil in the second round of the Vancouver Challenger (1-6, 7-6 , 6-3) but lost in the next round to Maxime Janvier. He finds himself in the qualifying of the US Open this week, seeded No. 29. Chung has only played the qualifying in New York once, as an 18-year-old in 2014).
Robin Haase (NED): No. 123 ==========> No. 154 (He’s having some good doubles results, but this is an alarming fall in the singles ranking for the 32-year-old Dutchman. He has played 20 tournaments this year, and lost in the first round of 11 of them. In every other event but one (Miami), he’s lost in the second round. Haase began the season right around the top 50, so it’s a major change in fortunes).
Vasek Pospisil (CAN): No. 203 ==========> No. 216 (That’s his real ranking. Pospisil can run on his protected for awhile. But he has to start putting together some wins).
Christopher O’Connell (AUS): No. 313 ==========> No. 220 (No real clue who this 25-year-old from Sydney is. But we know he has a one-handed backhand, has an Argentine coach, and has been playing on clay since March. O’Connell won the Challenger in Cordenons, Italy last week, which was his first Challenger title. He began the season unranked after missing almost seven months in 2018 with knee tendonitis. And because of the new and tragic ITF World Tour changes, he lost his ranking, and went down to the $15K ITF level to try to get back to where he was. Now based in Belgrade, he reached 10 ITF finals in five months and cut his ranking in half to get to where he was last week. He’s now one short of a career high reached 2 1/2 years ago.
Race to London
Goffin moves into the picture in the race to the ATP Tour Finals. He’s up to No. 11, less than 200 points out of a spot.
(For the complete rankings picture, go to the ATP Tour website).