Daniil Medvedev has reached the Australian Open final for the first time
|Date: Sunday February 21 Time: 08:30 GMT|
|Cover: Listen to BBC Radio 5 live and online; Live text on the BBC Sport website and app; Highlights on BBC TV.|
Daniil Medvedev has yet another opportunity to claim a first Grand Slam title after beating Stefanos Tsitsipas to advance to the Australian Open final.
The shaped Russian won 6-4 6-2 7-5 against the Greek fifth seed Tsitsipas for his 20th consecutive win.
Medvedev, 25, will play his second grand final when he faces Novak Djokovic on Sunday (08:30 GMT).
After this Defeat in the 2019 US Open final, Medvedev is once again aiming to become Russia’s first main male champion since 2005.
On his way is the top seed Djokovic, who is competing in Melbourne Park for a record-breaking ninth men’s title.
Medvedev has won three of his last four games, but facing the 33-year-old Serb in an Australian Open final where he set a 100% win record should be something else.
On what he learned from the defeat against Rafael Nadal in New York, Medvedev said: “I’ve gained a lot of experience. It was my first Grand Slam final against one of the biggest and on Sunday I’ll be against one of the biggest compete. “
“I don’t have a lot of pressure because Novak has never lost here in the final. He has all the pressure to get to Roger Federer and Rafa [in the all-time record of 20 men’s titles].
“I hope I get out of there and show my best tennis. As we’ve seen, I can win against the best names if I play well. He has more experience but more things to lose than me.”
Medvedev proves once again that he loves the big stage
Similar to Djokovic, Medvedev has an excellent all-round game that is difficult to solve even for the best.
The reigning ATP final winner dominated the 22-year-old Tsitsipas and took his 12th win in a row against a top 10 opponent.
Medvedev has the ability to be a defensive wall that can prove indestructible, but also serves big and finds the angles to crack winners – which leaves opponents helpless.
This was the case again against a frustrated Tsitsipas, who has now lost six of his seven meetings.
Medvedev and Tsitsipas had a famous argument at the 2018 Miami Open, and while their relationship is still tickled, they showed mutual respect for each other’s skills with a warm handshake after the game
After Medvedev took the game’s first breakpoint 4-3, his depth and persistence caused errors in Tsitsipas’ racket.
One small mistake when trying to serve up a pleasing opening movement was quickly overcome. Medvedev took his fourth set point with an ace in the middle.
Medvedev began to hit Tsitsipas’ one-handed backhand and was rewarded with another break in the third game of the second set.
The Greek showed his anger by hitting an open water bottle on the square and how he did it against Nadal in the quarter finals on Wednesday, faced the prospect of having to overcome another deficit of two sentences.
This time, a place in his first Grand Slam final was at stake.
Tsitsipas cannot find nirvana again
Tsitsipas made his comeback against Nadal by staying in a state of “nirvana”, but he continued to look stressed – possibly hampered by the weight of the expectations of the pro-Greek crowd – as his opponent landed it all in an inspired spell.
Medvedev took another 5-2 lead, losing just one point in the last three games to gain a two-set advantage.
The atmosphere in the Rod Laver Arena was quickly subdued. Medvedev broke off in the first game of the third set and threatened a double separation in the fifth – then suddenly the dynamic changed.
Tsitsipas held the serve and rallied to hit his first breakpoint of the game. He took his second chance to reach 3-3 when Medvedev’s execution began to betray him.
But hopes of a comeback for Tsitsipas vanished as quickly as they arrived.
After playing against Nadal behind closed doors due to coronavirus restrictions, Tsitsipas was supported by the majority of the 7,500 fans at the Rod Laver Arena. Melbourne has one of the largest Greek populations outside of Greece
Medvedev regrouped and broke again for 6-5, landing former British number one Annabel Croft, dubbed “the shot of the tournament”.
Medvedev appeared to be stranded on the opposite side of the baseline and pounced on the ball with a double hand that turned it into a winner across the board.
“I think it’s one of the best recordings of my career,” said the Russian. “My legs were pointed the other way because I didn’t have time. I have no idea how I did it.”
Medvedev waved both arms in the air as he danced on the baseline to celebrate. Some Tsitsipas fans in the crowd covered their faces in shock at what the Russian had just done.
There was no recovery from that for Tsitsipas. Medvedev scored the first of two match points when the Greek couldn’t return a throbbing backhand.
“He released his show. He was three sets in a row Daniil Medvedev,” said Tsitsipas, who has lost three Grand Slam semifinals.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if Daniil won the tournament. He’s a player who unlocked pretty much everything in the game.
“He’s cheating on you. He’s playing the game really smart.”
BBC Sports tennis correspondent Russell Fuller
Daniil Medvedev’s winning streak of 20 games began in Paris on November 4th last year.
During that time, he has beaten Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem and a number of other top 10 players.
Opponents of the highest caliber find it incredibly difficult to punch through. And right then, when you think he can’t possibly take more pressure, Medvedev can turn the defense into a jaw-dropping attack.
The finale can be tough. Long rallies are guaranteed.
Medvedev is perhaps the fresher and has won three of his last four meetings with Djokovic.
But the number one in the world is far more experienced and has never lost an Australian Open final.