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Medvedev survives “crazy” finish to beat valiant Tiafoe and reach first Indian Wells final
The Russian needed eight match points to finally get the job done and now plays Carlos Alcaraz or Jannik Sinner for the title
Daniil Medvedev maintained his stunning form as he beat Frances Tiafoe 7-5, 7-6 (4) on Saturday to reach the final of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.
The Russian faltered when serving for the match at 5-3 and 6-5 in the second set, missing seven match points, but rebounded superbly to take the tiebreak and extend his winning streak to 19 matches.
Medvedev will play either world No 2 Carlos Alcaraz in the final on Sunday. It is his seventh Masters 1000 final, but first in Indian Wells and he has the chance to add the Indian Wells title to the ones he won in Rotterdam, Doha and Dubai.
“It was crazy at the end,” Medvedev said. “I was getting super-tight. At 6-5, 40-0, then deuce I was really tight and thinking oh, this could go wrong. To finish with an ace was a relief. I’m just really happy I managed not to lose this match today.”
Medvedev strikes first
In his first Masters 1000 semi-final, Tiafoe started well, matching Medvedev from the baseline and looking to come forward at every opportunity.
The American saved a break point at 2-3 but Medvedev was holding easily and the pressure eventually told, the Russian breaking for 6-5 and then serving out the first set.
Medvedev withstands Tiafoe fightback, “crazy finish”
A stunning winner helped Medvedev, who showed no sign of the ankle injury he suffered earlier in the tournament, break the Tiafoe serve in the opening game of the second set. With his own serve working perfectly, it was hard to see any way back for Tiafoe.
The American hung in there well to stay within striking distance and had a break back point in the sixth game but Medvedev shut the door.
At 3-5, 15-40, Tiafoe was staring defeat in the face but suddenly the American launched into an all-out attack on the net and it worked. He saved both match points, then another to hold for 4-5 and then Medvedev, showing signs of strain for the first time, double-faulted to hand back the break.
Medvedev broke again to lead 6-5 and at 40-0 on his own serve, the match was as good as over, but Tiafoe again wasn’t done, stringing together three great points to save all three match points. He then saved a fourth in that game, and seventh overall, to force a tiebreak.
By now, the crowd inside Stadium Court were going crazy but Medvedev shut them out as he raced ahead 5-1 in the tiebreak. Still Tiafoe fought back to 5-4 but a good serve and a ninth ace finally got him across the line at the eighth time of asking.