Daniil Medvedev reached the Australian Open final for the first time where he will attempt to dethrone the defending champion who has yet to be defeated in the eight previous occasions that he has reached title match in Melbourne.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see Medvedev win the tournament Stefanos Tsitsipas
The 24-year-old Russian booked his place when he defeated a below par Stefanos Tsitsipas in the semi-final clash between two players destined to take over from the Big Three in the not too distant future.
On this occasion Medvedev proved again to be a step ahead of his younger Greek rival as stormed through 6-4 6-2 7-5 for his second appearance in a major final having lost out to Dominic Thiem at last year’s US Open.
As a match between two gladiators t was disappointing more especially following Tsitsipas’s remarkable victory over Rafa Nadal in the last eight, but he was unable to replicate that performance though there was a slight glimmer of a recovery in the third set when the Greek broke the Russian for the first time to level at 3-3 only to fallback again in the 11th game to allow the world number 4 from Moscow to serve out for his 20th successive win.
The disappointment felt by Tsitsipas was clear when asked what went wrong, he just looked at the questioner and remarked everyone saw what happened!
He went to say: “I wouldn’t be surprised to see Medvedev win the tournament.”
Having experienced the power and tactical brain of the world number four, he eplaied why he believed he is the player of the moment.
“Let me tell you that he’s a player who has unlocked pretty much everything in the game. 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. So 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.
“It’s difficult. Obviously, it’s not meant to be easy, otherwise, you know, he would be stuck at the futures level and not here. So 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. You know, he plays the game really smart. It’s really interesting to see that.”
All that was evident from the moment the first ball was struck as Medvedev quickly put him under pressure, pounding down his serves and stroking his ground shots to great effect finally clinching the victory coming forward to execute a booming forehand into the corner to score his sixth win over him to one loss.
Not even the mostly pro Greek support within the Rod Laver Arena could lift their hero who showed his frustration when he hurled a water bottle down on the court at the change over following his loss of serve in the opening games of the second set. He was rebuked but didn’t receive an official warning.
Medvedev’s attention quickly turned to the final,
“First of all, I like that I don’t have a lot of pressure,” he said. “Because he’s [Djokovic] never lost in eight times he played in the final.
“So, it’s him who was all the pressure, getting to Roger, Rafa in the grand slams (titles won race).
“I just hope that I’m going to get out there, show my best tennis. As we’ve seen, I can win some big games if I play good. So, that’s the main part. As I say, he has, for sure, more experience, but more things to lose.”
They have met seven time before with Djokovic leading 4-3 and the Serb is not going to toll over, of that everyone can rest assured as he told Eurosport won reaching the final for a ninth time:
“Pressure is always there, it’s part of what we do, but pressure is also a privilege. It means you are in the mix, that you’re still doing something that is important and valuable for you and the rest of the tennis world.
“There has been a lot of talk about the new generation coming and taking over the three of us. But realistically that isn’t happening still. We can talk about all day if you want, but with all my respect about the other guys, they still have a lot to do.”
“Of course, Dominic Thiem winning a Grand Slam title is fantastic. These guys are very strong, play high-quality tennis, without a doubt.
“Certainly, they will be the leaders of the future of tennis, without a doubt, but I’m not going to stand here and hand it over to them. I’m going to make them work their ass off for it.”
Medvedev, assuredly, is keen to do just that!