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Olympics: 'I can die', Medvedev fumes as heat takes toll

July 28, 2021 12:40 IST
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Team ROC's Daniil Medvedev celebrates after winning his Men's singles third round match against Team Italy's Fabio Fognini on day five of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Tennis Park in Tokyo, Japan, on Wednesday

IMAGE: Team ROC's Daniil Medvedev celebrates after winning his Men's singles third round match against Team Italy's Fabio Fognini on day five of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Tennis Park in Tokyo, Japan, on Wednesday. Photograph: David Ramos/Getty Images

World number two Daniil Medvedev gave a frank assessment of the stifling conditions for tennis in Tokyo on Wednesday when the visibly upset Russian told the umpire he could finish his match but wanted to know who will take responsibility if he died.

 

Medvedev advanced to quarterfinals of the men's singles at the Tokyo Games, prevailing 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 over Italian Fabio Fognini despite struggling in hot and humid conditions on Center Court.

He next plays Spain's Pablo Carreno Busta, who beat Dominik Koepfer of Germany 7-6(7), 6-3.

Last week Medvedev was the first to appeal for a delayed start for tennis at the Tokyo Olympics due to the hot and humid weather conditions and also received support from world number one Novak Djokovic.

On Wednesday he opened the proceedings on Ariake Tennis Park's main show court against Italian Fabio Fognini and was struggling throughout the match.

The 25-year-old took a medical timeout on court and also called the trainer on couple of other occasions.

Chair umpire Carlos Ramos was concerned and asked Medvedev if he was alright while the Russian was serving at 3-4 in the second set after winning the first.

"I'm fine. I can finish the match but I can die. If I die will the ITF (governing body International Tennis Federation) take responsibility?" Medvedev said in reply.

Daniil Medvedev receives medical attention during the match against Fabio Fognini on Wednesday. 

IMAGE: Daniil Medvedev receives medical attention during the match against Fabio Fognini on Wednesday. Photograph: David Ramos/Getty Images

The ITF's 'extreme weather policy' allows a 10-minute break between the second and third set if agreed by both players and Medvedev used that time to get a freezing cold shower.

"Even from the first set I didn't feel good enough with my breathing. That's why I called the physio, I felt like my diaphragm was blocked," he said, adding that he felt it was the most humid day so far in Tokyo.

"And then on the second set, I just had darkness in my eyes, like between every point, I didn't know what to do to feel better. Like I was bending over and I couldn't get my breath together so I was ready to just fall down on the court."

While Medvedev said he was "lucky" he felt better and could continue his match to advance, Spain's Paula Badosa gave up.

Badosa struggled during her contest against Czech Marketa Vondrousova on Court Four and needed a lengthy medical timeout. But she could not recover sufficiently and left the court in a wheelchair.

The ITF confirmed Badosa had retired due to illness.

Ukraine's world number six Svitolina, the highest surviving seed in the women's singles draw, kept her medal hopes alive by advancing to the semi-finals with a 6-4, 6-4 win over an error-prone Camila Giorgi of Italy.

The newly-wed Svitolina, watched on by husband and French tennis player Gael Monfils, had exited the last Olympics in Rio de Janeiro five years back at the same stage but her defensive skills were enough against an ultra-aggressive Giorgi.

"It was a really good game. I felt much better today than all other matches. There is lots of room for improvement, but my serve is getting better," Svitolina said.

Giorgi, ranked 61st, stepped up her level after falling down 5-1 and looked set to level things at 5-5 but Svitolina managed to hold on to her serve and converted her fourth set point to take the opener.

There was more fightback from Giorgi, who had 36 unforced errors, in the second set but the Ukrainian stayed firm and converted her first matchpoint with her sixth ace to set up a semi-final showdown against Czech Marketa Vondrousova, who advanced after her Spanish opponent Paula Badosa retired due to illness after losing the opening set 6-3.

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