Fourth seed Daniil Medvedev will face eight-time winner Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open men’s final after safely advancing from the last four.
- Medvedev defeated Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 6-2, 7-5 in the second semi-final
- The Russian served 17 aces and was only broken once by Tsitsipas
- Sunday’s encounter will be Medvedev’s second appearance in the final of a major
Medvedev dominated Greece’s fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in the second semi-final, winning 6-4, 6-2, 7-5 in two hours and nine minutes on Rod Laver Arena.
He is the third Russian to reach the men’s final at Melbourne Park and the first since Marat Safin lifted the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup in 2005.
Sunday night’s clash with Djokovic will also be his second appearance in the final of a major. He lost the 2019 US Open decider to Rafael Nadal in five sets.
Djokovic is seeking to win his third straight Australian Open.
Medvedev said he would benefit from the experience of having faced Nadal in the New York final two years ago.
“It was my first grand slam [tournament] final against one of the greatest,” he said in his on-court interview.
“Sunday, I’m going to come against one of the other greatest … we will know on Sunday and not know before the match what is going to happen.”
Friday night’s result gave Medvedev 12 consecutive wins over top-10 opponents and it was his 20th overall in tour-level matches.
His serve was outstanding against Tsitsipas, slamming down 17 aces and conceding just two double faults. He only dropped serve once for the match and faced just three break points.
Tsitsipas, appearing 48 hours after his thrilling five-set defeat of Rafael Nadal, was playing catch-up against Medvedev from midway through the first set but could still be proud of his effort in his second Australian Open semi-final.
Given the cap on spectators, Friday evening’s encounter still attracted a healthy crowd size to Rod Laver Arena and it was clear when the players walked on court that Tsitsipas would enjoy the lion’s share of support.
Greek flags could be seen throughout the stadium but Medvedev did not seem bothered by the crowd’s allegiance to Tsitsipas as he gained the upper hand early in proceedings.
He did not face a break point in the first set, while Tsitsipas dropped serve in the fifth game.
Tstsipas had his moments though, such as a crisp forehand down the line in the seventh game that drew a loud cheer from the crowd.
The only time Medvedev looked nervous was when he was serving at 5-4 and blew three set points, the third via a double fault.
But he recovered and converted on his fourth set point with an unplayable serve.
Tsitsipas fights for survival
Tsitsipas was struggling to lay a glove on Medvedev and this was evident in his first two service games in the second set.
He was taken to deuce before holding in the opening game but dropped serve for the second time in the match to trail 1-2, with Medvedev icing the break with a clean forehand winner.
The forehand had been a weapon of choice for Medvedev and a blistering service return off his right wing — albeit with the aid of net cord — gave him another service break and a 5-2 lead.
He served out the second set to love, marking the moment with another ace.
While Medvedev’s forehand was on song, his backhand was also troubling Tsitsipas.
A classy crosscourt backhand return when Tstispas approached the net in the opening game of the third set was another addition to his highlights reel.
Tsitsipas ended up dropping serve to trail 0-1 but he refused to give up and fought his way back into the set when he gained his first break of the Medvedev serve.
The crowd erupted at this point, with the set back on serve at 3-3.
Tsitsipas gave himself hope of snaring another break when Medvedev was 0-30 down in the 10th game.
Medvedev, however, served his way out of trouble and then broke Tsitsipas in the following game, with a breathtaking backhand passing shot down the line clinching a 6-5 lead.
He only needed one match point on his serve to end Tsitsipas’s tournament and book his place in the final.