GUAV

News Sports

Australian Open: Daniil Medvedev beats Stefanos Tsitsipas & meets Novak Djokovic

5 min read
Advertisement
2021 Australian Open men's singles final – Djokovic v Medvedev
Date: Sunday, 21 February Time: 08:30 GMT
Coverage: Listen on BBC Radio 5 Live and online; live text on the BBC Sport website and app; highlights on BBC TV.

Daniil Medvedev has another opportunity to land a first Grand Slam title after beating Stefanos Tsitsipas to reach the Australian Open final.

The in-form Russian won 6-4 6-2 7-5 against Greek fifth seed Tsitsipas, securing his 20th victory in a row.

Fourth seed Medvedev, 25, will contest his second major final when he meets Novak Djokovic on Sunday (08:30 GMT).

After losing in the 2019 US Open final, Medvedev aims again to become Russia's first male major champion since 2005.

In his way stands top seed Djokovic, who is bidding for a record-extending ninth men's title at Melbourne Park.

Medvedev has won three of their past four meetings but facing the 33-year-old Serb in an Australian Open final – in which he has a 100% winning record – should be a different proposition.

On what he has learned from losing to Rafael Nadal in New York, Medvedev said: "I took a lot of experience. It was my first Grand Slam final against one of the greatest and on Sunday I will face one of the other greatest.

"I don't have a lot of pressure because Novak has never lost here in the final. He has all the pressure to get to Roger Federer and Rafa [in the all-time record of 20 men's titles].

"I hope I will get out there and show my best tennis. As we have seen, I can win against the best names if I play well. He has more experience but more things to lose than me."

GB's Salisbury into men's doubles finalTop seed Djokovic ends qualifier Karatsev's run

Medvedev proves again he loves the big stage

Similar to Djokovic, Medvedev has an excellent all-round game which is difficult for even the very best to unpick.

The reigning ATP Finals champion dominated 22-year-old Tsitsipas to earn his 12th successive win against a top-10 opponent.

Medvedev has the ability to be a defensive wall which can prove indestructible, but also serves big and finds the angles to crack winners – leaving opponents feeling helpless.

Again that proved to be the case against a frustrated Tsitsipas, who has now lost six of their seven meetings.

Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas shake hands at the netMedvedev and Tsitsipas famously had an argument at the Miami Open in 2018 and, although their relationship remains tetchy, they showed a mutual respect for each other's ability with a cordial post-match handshake

After a taking the first break point of the match for a 4-3 lead, Medvedev's depth and consistency started to cause errors from Tsitsipas's racquet.

A minor blip as he tried to serve out an engaging opening set was quickly overcome, Medvedev taking his fourth set point with an ace down the middle.

Medvedev began to pummel Tsitsipas' single-handed backhand and was rewarded with another break in the third game of the second set.

The Greek showed his annoyance by smashing an open water bottle onto the court and, like he did against Nadal in Wednesday's quarter-final, faced the prospect of having to overturn another two-set deficit.

This time it was a place in his maiden Grand Slam final at stake.

Tsitsipas unable to find 'nirvana' again

Advertisement

Tsitsipas put his comeback against Nadal down to staying in a state of "nirvana", but he continued to look stressed – perhaps hindered by the weight of expectation from the pro-Greek crowd – as his opponent landed everything in an inspired spell.

Advertisement

Medvedev broke again for a 5-2 lead and dropped just one point in the final three games for a two-set advantage.

The atmosphere on Rod Laver Arena quickly became subdued. Medvedev broke in the first game of the third set and threatened to go a double break up in the fifth – then momentum suddenly switched.

Tsitsipas held serve and rallied to earn his first break point of the match, taking his second opportunity to level at 3-3 as Medvedev's execution began to betray him.

But hopes of a comeback for Tsitsipas disappeared as quickly as they arrived.

Greek fans cheer on Stefanos TsitsipasAfter playing Nadal behind closed doors because of coronavirus restrictions, Tsitsipas was backed by the majority of the 7,500 fans on Rod Laver Arena. Melbourne has one of the largest Greek populations outside of Greece

Medvedev regrouped and broke again for 6-5 by landing what former British number one Annabel Croft described as "the shot of the tournament".

Seemingly stranded at the opposite side of the baseline, Medvedev lunged for the ball with a double-hand stretching backhand that he somehow converted into a winner down the line for the game.

"I think it is one of my best shots in my career," said the Russian. "My legs were facing the other way because I didn't have time. I have no idea how I made this."

Medvedev waved both arms in the air as he danced on the baseline to celebrate, with some Tsitsipas fans in the crowd covering their faces in shock at what the Russian had just done.

From that there was no recovery for Tsitsipas. Medvedev took the first of two match points when the Greek was unable to return a thumping backhand.

"He put out his show. He became Daniil Medvedev for three sets in a row," said Tsitsipas, who has lost three Grand Slam semi-finals.

"I wouldn't be surprised to see Daniil win the tournament. He's a player who has unlocked pretty much everything in the game.

"He tricks you. He plays the game really smart."

Analysis

BBC Sport tennis correspondent Russell Fuller

Daniil Medvedev's 20-match winning streak began in Paris on 4 November last year.

In that time he has beaten Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem and a string of other top 10 players.

Opponents of the highest calibre find it incredibly difficult to hit through him. And just when you think he can't possibly absorb any more pressure, Medvedev can turn defence into breathtaking attack.

The final may be gruelling. Long rallies are guaranteed.

Medvedev may be the fresher, and has won three of his last four meetings with Djokovic.

But the world number one is vastly more experienced, and has never lost an Australian Open final.

Live scores, results and order of playAlerts: Get tennis news sent to your phone
Source

Advertisement

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *