In a match which included both drama and high quality tennis, No. 2 seed Daniil Medvedev booked his place in the Australian Open final with a 7-6(5), 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 win over No. 4 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas on Rod Laver Arena on Friday evening.
“It was a strange match. You know, with its up-and-downs for both players, I think. I think we both missed some shots we shouldn't miss. At the same time, both had good points. It was a lot of up-and-downs,” Medvedev said in his post-match press conference.
A tiebreaker would be required to decide the opening set, with no breaks of serve and little separating the pair who both hit 11 winners. It was Tsitsipas who blasted away to a 4-1 lead, but won just one of the next seven points, conceding the tiebreaker 5-7.
In a topsy turvy second set, the Greek star managed to respond to losing the first set, breaking Medvedev in the opening game of the second set. Tsitsipas raced away to a 3-1 lead, before being broken back and conceding the following three games. Trailing 3-4, Tsitsipas then went on to win the next three games, levelling the match at one set each.
Medvedev exploded in frustration at the chair umpire as he accused Tsitsipas’ coach and father Apostolos of speaking to Stefanos in Greek. The tirade included the Russian calling the chair umpire “a small cat”.
“I regret it all the time, because I don't think it's nice. I know that he's -- I know that every referee is trying to do their best,” Medvedev admitted.
“But, yeah, when you are there, tennis, you know, we don't fight with the fists, but tennis is a fight. It's a one-on-one against another player. So I'm actually really respectful to players who never, almost never show their emotions because, I mean, it's tough, it's tough, because I get, I can get really emotional. I have been working on it.”
“So many, many matches I handle it. I think if we look back at myself five years ago when I started playing, just started playing, there was less attention on me, but I was just insanely crazy.”
“You know, I'm working on it. Helps me to win matches, I know. So I do regret it 100%, but again, in the heat of the moment, I just lost it,” Medvedev explained.
The reigning US Open Champion managed to regain his composure, breaking Tsitsipas at 4-4 in the third set, giving himself an opportunity to serve for the set. From that point onwards it was full steam ahead for Medvedev, he held serve and took the set, eventually winning eight of the last nine games of the match to run away with the win.
In a replay of the 2019 US Open final, Medvedev will face No. 6 seed Rafael Nadal in the final.
“Now I have the chance, you know, to play second time. First one was a close one, epic one. I'm gonna try to prepare well, and need to show my best, because that's what I took of the three finals that I had before, that you have to do better than 100% in order to win. That's what I managed to do in US Open. That's what I'm gonna try to do on Sunday,” Medvedev said.
“Rafa likes to drag people into long rallies. I like it too. I think, yeah, gonna be a great battle. But again, I remember last year's final in Australia, even if it was against a different opponent. I'm going to try to be more ready, more focused, fighting more, and give it everything I have in terms of tennis, physically, mentally.”
“Rafa, we know that from the first till last point he's gonna fight his best, and that's what I'm gonna try to do also.”