Daniil Medvedev kept his win streak alive Friday night in Melbourne blowing past rival Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 6-2, 7-5 in just over two hours to reach his first Australian Open final, and his second Slam title match.
“He was tired after the match with Rafa,” said Medvedev. “During today’s match, I saw that as soon as I was moving him around the court, it was not easy for him.
“As soon as I saw that in the first set, that became my strategy straight away.”
The 25-year-old Russian dominated the Greek for the first 90 minutes until Tsitsipas overcame a break hole in the third to give the pro-Tsitsipas crowd a reason to cheer.
Medvedev’s defense, court speed and serve were just too much for Tsitsipas early on. The Russian was enjoying easy holds game after game.
In the third, Medvedev complained to the chair umpire that Tsitsipas’s father was talking too loud, and that may he lit a fire in Stefanos. Medvedev saw a 3-1 lead evaporate as Tsitsipas ran off three of the next four games thanks to some strong net play.
Losing the momentum and serving 4-5, 0-30, Medvedev settled down and rolled off 12 of the last 14 points for the win.
“It was definitely not easy, because we saw the match with Rafa was kind of the same score after two sets. The third set, Rafa was dominating but didn’t manage to win the match, so I got a little bit scared and tight,” said Medvedev. “It was not easy, but I am happy I managed to switch my game on, especially in some tight moments on my serve and I am really happy to be in the final.”
Medvedev has now won his last 20 matches and 12 straight against Top 10 players. He hasn’t lost since October 30th in Vienna to Kevin Anderson.
”When you beat everybody, is just great, because I think people start maybe to be a little bit scared,” said Medvedev. “At the same time, sometimes there are going to be some that are going to want to beat you even more. It’s a tricky situation, but I’m happy I managed to be on top in all those 20 matches.”
Tsitsipas, who had toughed out Rafael Nadal 48 hours earlier in a five sets, said he was dealing with physical issues at the end.
“[He] has unlocked pretty much everything in the game,” said Tsitsipas of Medvedev. “It’s like he’s reading the game really well. He has this amazing serve which I would describe close to John Isner’s serve. And then he has amazing baseline which makes it extremely difficult.
“Even if you return the serve, you don’t guarantee that you’re going to win the point. You have to really work hard for it,” he added. “He makes it very difficult, and I’m sure all the hard work that he has been putting, and the hours on the court have benefited a lot. He tricks you. He plays the game really smart. It’s really interesting to see that.”
Up next for Medvedev in his second Slam final will be Novak Djokovic who has his own streak. The Serb is a perfect 8-0 when he reaches the Australian Open final.
”I like that I don’t have a lot of pressure, because he never lost in the eight times that he was here in the final,” said Medvedev. “It is he who has all the pressure, getting to Roger and Rafa in the Grand Slam. I just hope that I am going to get out there and show my best tennis. As we have seen, I can beat some big names if I play good so that is the main part. He has more experience, but he has more things to lose than me.”
Djokovic leads their head-to-head 4-3 but Medvedev has won three of their last four.
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