"I think I played six consecutive finals in 2019, so I have a little margin," recalled, not without a dose of humor, the 5th player in the world, after his success 7-6 (7/5), 3-6, 6-3 against his compatriot (16th).

The 27-year-old Russian, who won titles in Rotterdam, Doha and Dubai in February, now has 23 wins in his last 24 matches.

In Florida, where he had never before passed the quarters, he will face the Italian Jannik Sinner (11th) or the defending champion, Carlos Alcaraz. However, the Spaniard must imperatively succeed in the "Sunshine Double" to maintain his place as world N.1 at the end of the tournament.

Asked about the prospect of crossing the rackets again against the one who gave him no chance, two weeks ago, in the final in Indian Wells, Medvedev wants to "believe" in his chances. "I know I'm capable of winning big titles. I know I can play well and beat anyone."

"Carlos is on fire right now, but you can't win a hundred games in a row. At some point, someone will put water on this fire. It can be Sinner today, it can be me on Sunday, it can be someone else at the next tournament," he added.

He did not have an easy game against Khachanov, a compatriot he now dominates 4-1 in their head-to-head matches. Because the latter continues to confirm his good dispositions on hard, in recent months, after reaching the last four at the US Open last year and the Australian Open in January.

"Very difficult"

The former world No. 1, who won at Flushing Meadows in 2021, did it in two stages to pocket the first set. Broken after missing a set ball at 5-4, he did not disunite, managing to lead the dance to the decisive game, until winning it on his second opportunity.

Russia's Karen Khachanov in the Miami semifinals against compatriot Daniil Medvedev, March 31, 2023 © AL BELLO/GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP

"In my opinion, it was a high-level match. In the first set, when we lost our serves, it was because the returns were good," he said.

Khachanov, who was aiming for a second Masters 1000, after the one gleaned at Bercy in 2018, imposed his domination in the second set, aware of not having gone far from a nice shot in the first. More aggressive, he dropped his big forehands that constantly put his rival on the back foot.

But Medvedev was able to raise his level in the last set, making the exchanges last by varying the blows, to push his compatriot to the fault. And he relied on an excellent serve (13 aces, 69% of successful first balls), to keep without worrying the successful break in the fourth game.

"In the second set I played badly and he won the set. And he had a bad game in the third. I'm really glad I passed. It was a very difficult match," he said.

On the women's side, Kazakhstan's Elena Rybakina (7th), also looking for the "Sunshine Double" in the wake of her victory in Indian Wells, is waiting to know her opponent. Czech Petra Kvitova (12th) and Romanian Sorana Cirstea (74th) were indeed opposed in the second semifinal, during the afternoon (local time).

© 2023 AFP