Daniil Medvedev battles through the pain to reach Indian Wells quarter-finals

Dubai champion remains on course for fourth straight title, while top seed Alcaraz also advances to last eight

Daniil Medvedev needed to dig deep to beat Alexander Zverev and reach the Indian Wells quarter-finals. Getty
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Daniil Medvedev overcame a mid-match ankle injury to edge a "crazy" match against Alexander Zverev to reach the Indian Wells Masters quarter-finals and extend his winning run to 17 matches.

Medvedev, who arrived in California following successive titles in Rotterdam, Doha, and Dubai, produced a gutsy display to defeat German Olympic champion Zverev 6-7, 7-6, 7-5.

It was an impressive effort from the fifth-seeded Russian whose tournament appeared over when he crashed to the court in the second set with what initially appeared to be a serious ankle injury. While Medvedev was able to continue and advance to the Indian Wells last eight for the first time, he said that he now expected to feel considerable pain and would likely have a scan on the ankle to assess the damage.

"Now when the adrenaline goes down the body cools down it is going to be pretty painful and I am going to probably do a scan to see what it is and if I can continue to play," said Medvedev.

Down a set and on serve at 3-2 in the second, Medvedev turned over his ankle attempting to make a return and winced in pain as the trainers, Zverev and the tournament supervisor all rushed to his side as he clutched his right leg.

Once back in his chair, Medvedev had the ankle heavily taped and then returned to the court hobbling, but determinedly forcing the second set to another tiebreak. This time, the 27-year-old former world No 1 prevailed 7-5 to send the contest to a third set.

"When I twisted it I thought I am going to stand up just fine and then the pain started growing very fast and I thought, 'Oh, that's not a good sign,'" Medvedev said. "I felt like I didn't break it but I thought maybe one of the ligaments is a little injured so I thought I wasn't going to be able to play.

"That is one of the first times in my life where the physio taped my ankle, so I decided to give it a try and what was very surprising (was that) it was much easier to run than to walk."

Medvedev carried his build up of momentum into the third set, snatching the early break to go up 2-1.

Alexander Zverev checks on Daniil Medvedev after his fall during their match at Indian Wells. AFP

With Medvedev serving for the match at 5-4, 12th seed Zverev secured his second break in 17 chances to extend the contest. But the German handed Medvedev the advantage right back by double-faulting to gift his opponent another break and a 6-5 lead.

Medvedev did not waste a second opportunity to close out the three-hour, 15-minute contest, taking the game to love when Zverev sent his return wide.

Medvedev said he planned to tape the ankle and take a painkiller to be good to go when he faces Spain's Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in his quarter-final on Wednesday. Fokina beat Chile's Cristian Garin 6-3 6-4 on Tuesday.

"Even without talking about the ankle, the match itself was crazy," Medvedev said. "When you have 10 break points you're much closer to winning it and maybe you even deserve it, but that's tennis sometimes."

Alcaraz and Fritz march on

Carlos Alcaraz and Jack Draper meet at the net after Draper retires from their Indian Wells match. AFP

Top seed Carlos Alcaraz and defending champion Taylor Fritz also both advanced to the quarter-finals.

Alcaraz, the world No 2 who can regain the top ranking with a win this week, had a short night's work as Britain's Jack Draper retired with an abdominal injury with the Spaniard up 6-2, 2-0.

Fritz, meanwhile, dug deep into his arsenal to beat Hungarian Marton Fucsovics 6-4, 6-3 to reach the quarters.

"I had to kind of just fight through a lot of games," Fritz said. "I didn't really at times have an answer for it, so I just had to tough it out and get points where I could. I was just able to find a way through."

Elsewhere, 10th-seeded Briton Cameron Norrie upset sixth-seeded Andrey Rublev of Russia 6-2, 6-4 and American Frances Tiafoe was a 6-4, 6-4 winner over Chilean Alejandro Tabilo.

Updated: March 15, 2023, 7:25 AM