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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