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Resilient Medvedev grinds down Tsitsipas to reach Australian Open final

The Russian lost his composure at one stage but recovered superbly to reach the final for the second year in a row

Daniil Medvedev SF AO 2022 AI/Reuters/Panoramic

Australian Open 2022 | Draw | Order of play 

Daniil Medvedev vented, buckled briefly, recovered quickly and eventually ground down Stefanos Tsitsipas in a barrage of heavy hitting at Melbourne Park on Friday to claim his place in the final of the Australian Open for the second successive year.

The No 2 seed, who won his first Grand Slam title at the US Open last September, lost his rag at the umpire for not penalising Tsitsipas’ coach for what he said was coaching but he shook it off immediately and bounced back brilliantly to clinch a 7-6 (5), 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 victory.

Medvedev is only the second man in the Open era to win his first Grand Slam title and reach the final in the very next slam, after Andy Murray. He’ll play Rafael Nadal in the final after the Spaniard beat Matteo Berrettini in four sets.

“I don’t think bad emotions help me too much,” Medvedev said. “When I made it (in the past), many times I lose matches because of this. As soon as I did it. I was like, that was a big mistake. I am happy I managed to re-concentrate at the beginning of the fourth set. I tried my best and I’m happy it worked.

“Starting from 5-4 in the third I found some momentum, made a few very important passing shots, and his energy went down because of this and mine went up because of this.”

With the roof closed for rain, there was nothing to put either men out of their stride on serve and both served brilliantly, rarely allowing the opponent a chance to get into their service games, while the standard of hitting was incredibly high right from the start.

Tsitsipas saved four four break points at 4-4 as the first set went to a tiebreak and though the Greek led 4-1, the Russian recovered to win it 7-5.

Tsitsipas didn’t drop his head, though and broke at the start of the second, only for Medvedev to break back for 3-3. But the Greek, who came forward at every opportunity, kept his calm and when Medvedev lost his head at 5-4 in the second, Tsitsipas took full advantage to break and level the match.

Angry Medvedev loses his rag

Medvedev ranted toward the umpire at the end of the second set, calling him a “small cat” as he complained about what he saw was illegal coaching from Tsitsipas’ father, Apostolos. “Are you stupid,” he yelled at the umpire.

Tsitsipas had a couple of chances to break in the first game of the third set but Medvedev knuckled down and slowly began to take control. Tsitsipas’ serve out wide to the deuce court had been very effective early on but the Russian found his range on return to make life tough for him and he got the break he needed to take the set and move ahead.

Daniil Medvedev AO shouting
AI/Reuters/Panoramic

Relentless Medvedev pulls away for victory

At 1-1 in the fourth, Tsitsipas was warned for coaching, which brought no reaction from Medvedev while Tsitsipas siled ironically. All the momentum was with him now and he ran away with the fourth to set up a clash with Nadal, who beat him in his first Grand Slam final, at the US Open in 2019.

“I’m going to play again against one of the greatest, What’s funny is again I’m going to play someone who’s going for 21. I guess last time, Rafa was watching on the TV, I don’t know who he was cheering for. I think Novak will be watching this one too.

“I’m ready. I know that Rafa is a very strong player and I will need to show my best to try to win this match.”

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