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Medvedev too good again for Rublev as he books semi-final spot

Daniil Medvedev is simply too good for Andrey Rublev at the moment. Medvedev improved to 5-0 in his career against his fellow Russian with a straight-set victory in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open on Wednesday.

Daniil Medvedev, Australian Open, 2021 Daniil Medvedev, Australian Open, 2021

Andrey Rublev has been beating just about everyone on tour dating back to the start of last season. Unfortunately for him, his good friend and ATP Cup-winning teammate Daniil Medvedev is one opponent he simply cannot find a way to beat.

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Medvedev improved to 5-0 lifetime in the head-to-head series (4-0 on the main tour, 1-0 at the Challenger level) and 12-0 in total sets against Rublev by prevailing 7-5, 6-3, 6-2 in the Australian Open quarter-finals on Wednesday afternoon. They also faced each in the quarters of the 2020 US Open, with Medvedev winning in three competitive sets. The world No 4 advanced on Wednesday after two hours and five minutes and now awaits the winner of the match between Rafael Nadal and Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Daniil Medvedev

“Andrey, I think at this moment, was on fire, starting already last year, so he was definitely one of the favourites to go far in this tournament,” Medvedev said. “He was in quarters already three times, I think, before this one, so this was the fourth time, so for sure he wanted badly to be in the semis. To win this match in three sets, especially how physical it was, I mean, was amazing level from me, and I’m really happy about it.”

“I think the match was high quality. It’s the first time to be honest I saw Andrey that tired, so good from my side, because he’s practising with his coach, I think, five hours per day non-stop, never tired. We always laugh about him, that he’s like a battery, like Duracell or something. I actually managed to get him tired.”

Another competitive first set

A tiebreak was required in the opening set of their US Open showdown, and for a moment it looked like the same story would transpire at Melbourne Park. Although Rublev was competitive for a while, he never had an upper hand. The world No 8 dropped serve in the sixth game of the match but got right back on level terms with a break of Medvedev in the following game.
Andrey Rublev (Rus)

Medvedev, who served first in the opener, bounced back from a rare service donation and held twice in a row thereafter to keep himself in the ascendency. That put the pressure on Rublev, who soon had to toe the line while serving to stay in the set at 5-6. He did not come close to doing so successfully. A love break gave Medvedev the first set in style.

Gruelling second set does for Rublev

The final nail in Rublev’s coffin actually came well before the official finish line. With Medvedev serving at 3-3, they played a grueling 43-ball rally — perhaps the best point of the entire tournament so far. Rublev won it when his opponent missed a forehand just wide, but in reality it was the most important point of the match in Medvedev’s favour. It took an incredible amount of energy out of Rublev, who really wasn’t the same again at any point in the contest. The reigning Nitto ATP Finals champion managed to hold serve for 4-3 despite losing that 43-shot exchange, and he followed it up with a break for 5-3. That proved to be the only break of the set, enough to give Medvedev a 2-0 advantage.

From there it was all over for Rublev. The 23-year-old, who led the ATP Tour with five titles last season, was broken in each of his first two service games during the third set. He held his next two, but it hardly mattered. Medvedev was off to the races and never looked back, even if he did require some treatment from the physio after the match as he began to cramp.

“If we take all the matches that I’ve played against him, today he played his best level,” Rublev assessed. “I don’t know if he could play even better, but against me today I think was his best match out of I don’t know how many times we’ve played — four times maybe. He was playing really well today, and he deserved to win because he was really better than me.

“In all the moments he was playing much better than me, and that’s it. Simple.”

Medvedev will go up against either Rafael Nadal or Stefanos Tsitsipas in the semi-finals. After that it could be Novak Djokovic awaiting the bottom-half finalist in the championship match.

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