Tsitsipas Shocks Nadal, Meets Medvedev Next; Djokovic Seeks 9th Australian Open Final
by Staff | February 17th, 2021, 10:00 am
  • 22 Comments

Daniil Medvedev wrecked Andrey Rublev 7-5, 6-3, 6-2 in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open on Wednesday.

“We had some unbelievable rallies and after the point it’s tough to breathe,” said Medvedev. “I think I’m one of the few players to make Andrey that tired and I’m quite happy about it.

“I know how to neutralize his amazing big shots,” he added. “That was definitely one of the best matches I played lately, not only here but even last year. This match is really unbelievable because he was playing really good, I managed to beat him in three sets even without a tiebreak, and I’m really happy about it.”

Medvedev hung on in a tight first set, then cruised to his fourth straight win over his friend and countryman. Medvedev is now 13-0 in sets against Rublev.

Rublev drops to 0-4 in Slam quarterfinals while Medvedev is now 3-0 at this stage.

“If we take all the matches that I’ve played against him, today he played his best level,” said Rublev. “He was playing really well today, and he deserved to win because he was really better than me.

“You need to be focused 100 per cent every point, because as soon as you relax or something, then he will use the opportunity.”

Medvedev now draws Stefanos Tsitsipas who became just the second player to come from two sets down in a Slam to beat Rafael Nadal in a Slam with a 3-6, 2-6, 7-6(4), 6-4, 7-5 in four hours.

“I’m speechless, I have no words to describe what happened,” Tsitsipas said on court.

“I started very nervous I won’t lie. I don’t know what happened after the third. I fly like a little bird, everything was working for me. The emotions at the very end are indescribable.”

The Greek was getting rolled early but on the brink of exiting in the third set tiebreaker, Nadal tossed in four bad errors including two blown overheads.

Tsitsipas used that newfound belief to serve his was through the fourth and stayed strong in the fifth to collect one of his greatest wins and reach his first Australian Open semifinal.

Uncharacteristically for a Nadal match, the serve was the key as both guys held, often with ease on the quick Melbourne courts. That is until Rafa was broken at love at 5-all.

Tsitsipas had it on his racquet at 6-5 but went down in a 0-30 hole, but fought the nerves and got through it.

“I focused on staying calm and holding my nerves today. I have failed to do so in some of my matches,” said Tsitsipas. “I stayed calm in the tight moments and I kept everything to myself. I am really happy with the attitude that I showed on the court.”

Nadal had won 11 straight matches and 33 straight sets coming into the match, was disappointed with his play in that third set tiebreaker.

“I missed a couple of balls in the tie-break that I could not miss if I wanted to win,” said Nadal. “The whole issue is I missed an easy smash at the beginning of the third-set, an easy forehand at 2/1 in the tie-break, and then another smash in that tie-break.

“I think Stefanos played great in the fourth and fifth sets. I tried my best in every single moment, with the right attitude,” he added. “I think I stayed positive all the time during the match, fighting. And was not enough. Sometimes it’s enough. Today, was not enough.”

Nadal misses another chance at winning a second Career Slam and will look to the French Open to tie Roger Federer’s 21.

“I never considered myself unlucky person at all,” said Nadal. “Doesn’t matter the injuries that I had. I think I am very lucky person. The only thing that I can do is just keep going. I put myself in a position two sets up in the quarter-finals, close to the semifinals. Has a chance been lost? Yes, but life continues. I hope to keep having chances, I’m going to keep fighting for it.”

With Melbourne a big Greek town, Tsitsipas will have their support Friday night when he takes on his rival Medvedev.

“Plays very well and has been very consistent, with lots of consecutive wins,” said Tsitsipas of Medvedev. “I need to recover and have a good ice bath. I am looking forward to the match and each match I play here is an opportunity to play my best tennis. It will be amazing to see the crowds again.”

Tonight, Novak Djokovic returns putting his perfect 16-0 record once he makes the semifinals in Melbourne on the line against surprising qualifier Aslan Karatsev.

Djokovic appears to be ok after being under an injury cloud a week ago. He’s had tough matches still, beating Milos Raonic and Alexander Zverev both in four sets, but will be the heavy, heavy favorite against big-hitting Russian Karatsev who had never even played a main draw Grand Slam match before this year.

“I had not seen him play, honestly, before Australian Open,” said Djokovic. “I have seen him play during the tournament here, and he impressed me, impressed a lot of people. His movement, his firepower from baseline, flat backhand, Russian school great backhand. also hits some good forehands [and] dictates the play. He is impressive. [He was] two sets down against Felix came back. He was just very solid against Grigor.”

If the world No. 114 should win it would go down as one of the greatest upsets ever.


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22 Comments for Tsitsipas Shocks Nadal, Meets Medvedev Next; Djokovic Seeks 9th Australian Open Final

John Smith Says:

I said it a few times on those pages for a few months now: the big 4 is done and won’t win another slam. There will always be a Medvedev/Thiem/Zverev/Tsitsipas in the way now (without even mentioning the Rublev, Augier, Shapovalov).

The very last remaining scenario for a big 3 win is to have a 5-hour 5-setter Tsitsipas win on Friday night and the Greek could barely walk on the court on Sunday. Otherwise, Djokovic will lose whichever opponent he will face.

I have also predicted that Nadal won’t win the French and Federer Wimbledon neither. As for next year, 3 of the big 4 will have retired.


remcom Says:

I also have my doubts about any of the Big Three adding to their Grand Slam totals this year. Although it would be nice to have Federer win just one more Wimbledon title!

Isn’t Andy Murray, of the Big Four, de facto retired?


Dave Says:

The problem with your prediction is no one outside of Federer, Nadal and Djokovic is good enough on grass yet to win at Wimbledon. And to think that Djokovic is never going to win another slam on hard courts or grass is extremely unlikely unless he has a career ending injury. You might be right about Murray and Federer never winning another slam. The odds are definitely less then 50% that either of them wins another slam. But Djokovic and Nadal would need to fall off of a cliff for that to happen. And you’re also forgetting that even younger players are going to have injuries and hot and cold streaks. I don’t even think Zverev or Medvedev have ever beaten any of the big 3 at a slam yet. F.A.A. Is mentally weak. Rublev is so one dimensional and his style matches up so badly against Djokovic and Nadal. Shapo can’t stay hot enough in a grand slam match to even take 2 sets off of a big 3 member. Tsitsipas beat an injured Nadal who almost beat him in straights. And it wasn’t because Tsitsipas played mind blowing tennis in the breaker that he won, it was Nadal making errors on easy shots. Thiem is the only one that has truly arrived against the big 3. I know many want the young generation to take over tennis. But to think that Nadal and Djokovic are going to just disappear without it being gradual, is completely questioning just how good they ever were. And what heights they’ve taken the game too.


Wog Boy Says:

Dave,
Agree, Rafa had no business in losing that match, that match should have been wrapped up in easy 3 sets, how he lost and why is beyond me.
Rafa losing 3 sets in a row, after being 2 sets up??!!

I have to admit I haven’t seen last 2 sets, I fell asleep and when I woke up this morning I had few messages on my phone about Rafa losing and I was in shock.

He played flawless tennis, it was really joy to watch him last night, Tsitsipas couldn’t do a thing, third set should have never gone to TB and then in the TB two easy putaways Rafa missed after already being mini break up. One was famous Djokosmash that is becoming more and more popular on tennis courts.
What happened in the last two sets I can’t comment since I haven’t seen them, but should have never gone into the 4th set to start with.

I was hoping for Nole vs Rafa final, now we may even end up with Russian final, you never know.
I am looking forward for Medvedev/Tsiptsipas match knowing well that they are not best friends, their animosity is well documented, I expect sparks and them to be initiated by Medvedev.


autoFilter Says:

“Nadal misses another chance at winning a second Career Slam and will look to the French Open to tie Roger Federer’s 21.”

You sure about that, Staff?


mat4 Says:

I see that a lot of readers are quick to burry Djokovic, Federer and Nadal. Why? They still dominate at slams. They have the usual problems all older players have, but they manage to improve tennis wise, to adapt to new racquets, strings, balls, surfaces. So, let’s wait and see. They could well win no more slams. Otoh, Novak could recover enough and win the AO, Rafa another FO, and, let’s say, Federer, who is often in good shape after a break from tennis, WB. What then?

So, let’s just enjoy tennis. Que sera, sera.

And, let’s not forget… Ajde, Nole!


chrisford1 Says:

Wanted to note that most people disagree with John Smith’s and Remcom’s prediction that 2 of the Big 3 will retire in 2021 and the statement Andy is already de facto retired.
Andy is working on his form and seeing if he can get back to a high level of play, by going on the Challenger’s circuit. He just lost the final in one event, signed onto a new one.
Like Federer, I believe Andy is looking at the Olympics and Wimbledon..as last hurrahs. But if they don’t win, but do very well, both might think they were close and maybe one more year….of more fame and fortune!
No sign Nole or Nadal is looking at retirement. Both are still in front of the ATP pack in points as usual in the last 3 years. Both still live to compete, will take the pain if injured. No signs they are yet being outclassed by the people that will certainly replace them down the road.
We do see the emergence of a new top group of Russians. More if you add Russian German Sasha Medvedev, and Russian-Israeli Aslan Karatsev if he is more than this 1 Cinderella run – quite a stable of good players.


All Out Says:

Karatsev’s inexperience is showing here. He could be a really good player a few tournaments from now if he continues playing this way.
Its just not enough to damage novak today. Its stiil Djokovic’s tournament to lose. But it dosen’t look like anyone can beat him this year. Truly one of the greatest players of all time!!


Van Persie Says:

9th Final at AO for Nole :)


Van Persie Says:

I think he prefers to play against Tsitsipas in the final :D


FedExpress Says:

Novak Djokovic: “This is best as I felt in the entire tournament. Felt great, I could swing through the ball. No pain. Just, best match so far. It came at the right time and I’m thrilled to feel this way, for sure.”

Buck Nole, you faker. There was never an injury to begin with.


mat4 Says:

@Van Persie:

Me too. And I hope for a long, long semi-finale between Medvedev and Tsitsipas. 5 sets, 7-6 in the first, second, third, fourth and fifth. If possible. ;-)


Giles Says:

The faker will never change. Abdominal injury? Yeah in his testicles maybe.


chrisford1 Says:

Giles and FedExpress- So sorry for your pain, but may players have suffered the real pain of muscle strains due to lack of conditioning and practice before the tournament started. Sasha also had an abdominal muscle strain and he was taped up before the match with Novak.
Also, Novak Djokovic revealed he was treated by doctors and physios from Tennis Australia, had testing. Med tests reveal the scope of muscle injury through muscle breakdown products in the bloodwork done, and tests to determine which muscle or muscle group is impacted. Based on that, they started treatments on several players like Novak and prescribed medication.
If nothing happened, no medicine prescribed and they would have would have discharged Djokovic as a patient after testing.
Of course the facts mean nothing to your two, operating off personal animosity. I’m sorry to say things won’t be any easier for you to take – Novak is in the Final with 80% odds of winning. And whether he does or not, he still will pass Roger and be the 1st men’s tour pro to be number 1 for more than 6 years. That is now guaranteed by his points, or more accurately, by Rafa not advancing past his 2020 results.
Make sure you come by and have some pithy comments when TX posts it’s congrats to Novak on a big record falling. And the way things are, Rafa only a little over 200 weeks as #1 and the promising 23-25 year olds plus Sinner group will make long dominance by 1 player as #1 unlikely – I believe that 311 weeks+ record will be there a long, long time.
Well, got to go! You two enjoy the rest of the AO, I mean that sincerely!


chrisford1 Says:

VP – Agree. I’ve become a fan of Daniil Medvedev. He has a beautiful, all-round game and brings intelligence to his play in strategy and point construction. He is trouble for Djokovic. I think he is going to be the guy I root for once Novak is gone or no longer a force and hanging around simply to seek “1 more big one”. Good personality and attitude, “Mr Chill.”
Matt4 – Yeah, though I like Tsitsipas and Medvedev, since one will face Novak, I hope they both have a 5 set, titanic battle.


skeezer Says:

CF1,
Since you keep mentioning Fed regarding weeks @ #1, he has not taken over that record yet, so put a sock in touting impending doom that presently he does not own. I understand how painful this all must have been for a Djoker fan all this time.
Furthermore, hopefully we all can soothe your pain in the fact that Djoker will never get a whiff at Feds all time record of 237 *consecutive* weeks at #1.
For your enjoyment, you can wiki Feds all time records here:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_career_achievements_by_Roger_Federer


Tennis Vagabond Says:

CF1, I had forgotten about the weeks at #1. Congrats! That is an amazing achievement. Reaching another finals is an amazing achievement, and he’ll certainly be favoured.

I do think Rafa will be competing for trophies again as well. Can only hope for Federer. In any case, its waaay past time for new blood. Too bad Thiem’s so old already, but Medvedev and Tsitsipas and the Canadians will be an exciting tour.


Emilija Says:

I agree that the 3 Big ones shouldn’t be written off so easily. But next generation is coming whether one likes it or not.

I was amazed that Nadal lost to Tsitsi but I think he had a bad day after two easily won sets. A player is always in a complex state of mind.

As for Novak, van Persie, I root for his 9th AO cup. I think he can easily get it if Tsitsi wins tomorrow. As for Medved (bear) you never know…

Wog boy, are you still in Melbourne? Are you going to be on the stands on Sunday? How can I spot you? Will you hold the Serbian flag?


chrisford1 Says:

Tennis Vagabond – Without the stultifying grip of Covid on sports and other organized activities, it would be even better, but this IS the beginning of the “Time of Change” when the 3 Legends give up their grip. 1st Roger in semi-retirement, but still able to go deep or win even now, with Novak and Rafa to follow, I think. It is a shame that so many worthies they faced never got the glories they might had had but for a flaw or injury or typically having to beat 2 of the Big 3 to win. But now we have an idea who they will be, and I wish Thiem was younger and in that group.
I believe Sasha Zverev is the most physically able in that group, Sinner the black swan, and Daniil Medvedev the most complete from a complete game, mental strength, high tennis IQ perspective.
The Djokovic “weeks at #1” is even more special when you appreciate the magnitude of his re-creation as “Nole v. 2.0” back in 2011 when he held another record that may stand – 4 years as the #3 – the world had written him off as a threat to the Nike Duopoly – and he could not break through.
Djokovic’s entire career has been framed by a highly competitive environment in which he never flourished in a less competitive era, as Roger did as mostly unchallenged number 1 when he took over from Leyton Hewitt’s 1 year straight as #1 – to his own 4 1/2 years in which he got his 12 Slam wins tucked away. 2004-07 plus half of 2008. Rafa too, got his time as #1 in more competitive times than Roger did in his heyday, but he always had his Clay Bastion to fall back on.
Who was #1 shifted back and forth between the 3 after 2007. Credit to Roger, he was still good enough to sometimes take #1 back and manage to add 70 weeks as #1 and 8 Slams in the past 13 1/2 years. And benefited from fans locking into him as The Man before Nadal arrived in full form, Djokovic 3 years later.
And all credit to Andy, who faced those three and still showed a Hall of Fame career and showed himself the best British player in the last 90 years. Andy strived and got 3 Slams, 2 gold medals and was they only player to take #1 from the Big 3 guys and create, for a time cut short by injury, the Big 4. You can only imagine if Andy had been the one in Rogers position in 2003- all Murray’s talent, less competition, no Big 3 to hurt his confidence. We would have talked not of the “Swiss Maestro” but the working man Scot who conquered and ruled tennis for 4 straight years…

And for Skeezer, the celebration of 311 weeks is because it is now locked in as a certainty by what Novak did. Meaning it’s like the recent US Presidential election. The title, or record sort of… was won in the election, then people celebrated or gnashed teeth as they awaited the time Trump vacated and Biden took over in January. But the achievement was locked in Nov 3rd. Hopefully, Federer will be more gracious than Trump or many of his followers were – in fact I am certain of it, despite the friction that has always existed between the camps. Fed fans, given their reputation, many will not be as gracious as Fed most likely will be.
The only difference is Djokovic could drop dead tomorrow and the ATP stats will keep his points going until they elapse, long after he went in the books, post-mortem, as the record holder. Had Biden dropped dead or gone totally senile while awaiting “Inauguration Day”, Harris would have taken his place.
And hopefully, Djokovic’s feat will always be put in context to the ferocious competition he did it in, following 4 years as #3 stopped cold by Fed and Nadal. And dismissed by most in the sport as some talented hypochondriac E European who “of course” was not good enough to beat the two greatest ever to have played. 311 is more than a record, it is a culmination of a great journey in sport, the human potential to persevere in the face of years of failure and beat that which was said time and time again, was a level too high to get to due to “unbeatable foes or circumstances”.
And tennis has more of them besides Djokovic to draw on. Just a sample – Serena – As a young teen told that she was unlikely to be a top player because she ‘just had the wrong body type”. David Ferrer, told he lacked the talent to make it into the Top 100. Nadal, told he was near finished with his knee maladies..a dozen years back.


Wog Boy Says:

Hi Emilija,

No I am not in Melbourne, I returned after Tiafoe match, one day before they shut down everything (including airport) for five days.
Everyone told me I am not right in my head (which they are not wrong anyway) for even considering going to Melbourne, but I took the risk and it paid of, I had to go, even if only for a 3 days, I’ve seen Nole twice, Andreescu, Tsitsipas, Halep, Barty, Serena…
If I stayed one more day I would have been locked in Melbourne hotel room for another five days and that would cost me dearly in every possible way, but I wouldn’t regret it, mission accomplished:)

As for me being seen on your TV screen during Nole matches, well I was easily recognisable, I had my Serbian national waterpolo cap number 10 (Filip Filipovic), Serbian jersey and big Serbian flag, should be enough to remember 😁 if you have seen me during first two Nole matches;) I don’t know if I was on the screen but I know two mobile cameramen did focus on me from the close range few time during Tiafoe match.

Cheers


Wog Boy Says:

CF1,
Nicely said!

While you are around, you asked me while back to write about my impressions from Melbourne if I get there, right? I’ll do it once it is over if you are still going to be interested in it.
One thing I can tell you now, from the moment I boarded the plane in Sydney the feeling was weird and the moment I landed in Melbourne turned into creepy feelings and stayed like that until my return to Sydney, of course the reason is “new way of life and behaviour due to this “deadly “ virus”.
I have to admit “they” succeeded in controlling the world, after two failures with Bird flu and Swine flu, they succeeded with Bat flu, the World is “theirs” to rule it now, sadly.


chrisford1 Says:

Good to hear from you Wog Boy, sorry you had to split from Melbourne before some of the huge matches happened. Now, FCCk!!, I have to watch the forgotten Tiafoe match just to see all the glorious Serbian diaspora nuts in the stands and look for #10 for my 1st virtual Wog Boy siting.
As for Covid, I understand your frustrations and share your belief that so many of the “new rules” are dumb and fear state power remaining in place even when Covid ends – but my perspective is a little different from being in the States, and in a hard-hit State. Australia has 909 deaths. The US 491,267 by our version of the Health Ministry (the CDC), and 504,000 estimated deaths that have happened, some awaiting being reported, the Worldometer people have put out. I’m a supporter of mask use and social distancing and believe we will need vaccine passports and herd immunity to fully reopen again and international travel will be tougher for years. No one close to me died, but a friend had the shattering experience of both her parents mortally stricken, being barred from hugging them or wishing them farewell in the hospital, the still unresolved guilt from fear she spread it to them. then a no funeral order that delayed services 3 weeks. That happened last May, and she still isn’t OK. It’s not the flu. A whole different virus family, and while some symptoms are similar, what body tissues coronavirus attacks and destroys in advanced cases is very different.
Enjoy the final, Wog Boy, you have your own long journey from Serbia , your own journey, the times when you did what many thought was past you to do.


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