Daniil Medvedev celebrates rise to No. 1 with quarterfinal win over Yoshihito Nishioka

Daniil Medvedev marked his rise to the No. 1 ranking with a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Yoshihito Nishioka in the quarterfinals of the ATP Mexico Open on Thursday.

The 26-year-old Russian rode a rollercoaster of emotions after learning he would take over the top spot thanks to Serbian star Novak Djokovic’s quarterfinal defeat in Dubai hours earlier.

But he got the job done against Nishioka to reach the semifinals.

“It’s not easy actually to play a match when you get this (news) during the day,” Medvedev said of maintaining his focus after learning he will supplant Djokovic atop the rankings on Monday.

Czech Jiri Vesely, ranked 123rd, upset Djokovic 6-4, 7-6 (7-4) to ensure to end of the Serb’s reign.

“To be honest, I saw that he was losing, but I didn’t know that if he loses I’m going to become No. 1,” Medvedev said. “I thought that I had to do something big here. So then when I was receiving all the messages, well, I understood, OK, it’s gonna happen.

“The first goal for me was to still win today, because I’m here to try to win every match I play.

“But it’s definitely some great news.”

Medvedev will become the first man outside the game’s “Big Four” of Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Andy Murray, to occupy the top spot since 2004.

He becomes the third Russian after Yevgeny Kafelnikov and Marat Safin to ascend to No. 1.

Despite the distractions of the day, Medvedev needed just 70 minutes to dispatch Nishioka.

The Japanese qualifier went up an early break in the second set, but Medvedev patiently worked his way back for the win.

“He’s a tough opponent,” Medvedev said. “He knows how to return, how to run, how to make some crazy shots when you don’t expect it. I’m happy I was able to keep my composure to the end.”

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