Australian Open: Daniil Medvedev beats arch-rival Stefanos Tsitsipas, will face Novak Djokovic in final

by Terence Channon

Daniil Medvedev is headed to the Australian Open final after beating Stefanos Tsitsipas — and the heavily pro-Tsitsipas crowd — in the semifinal on Friday.

In a match that ran just two hours and nine minutes, Medvedev dismantled Tsitsipas in straight sets, winning 6-4, 6-2, 7-5. Medvedev was in top form, while Tsitsipas appeared to be hurting from his four-hour marathon win against Rafael Nadal earlier in the week. Medvedev took the first two sets easily and was ready to cruise to the win.

Not so fast, though. After getting behind in the third set, Tsitsipas tried to give the pro-Greece crowd a replay of his incredible comeback against Nadal. Tsitsipas won three straight games while Medvedev committed a few unforced errors, which could have marked the turning of the tide. Instead, Medvedev found a whole new level of tennis, winning the final three games to put Tsitsipas away.

When it was all said and done, Medvedev had 46 winners to Tsitsipas’ 19, 21 unforced errors to Tsitsipas’ 31, and 17 aces while Tsitsipas had just 3.

Medvedev and Tsitsipas have a history of animosity, but it was limited to one tiny occurrence on Friday. After Medvedev won four straight points to go up 5-2 in the second set, Tsitsipas threw a bottle of water.

Medvedev found that incredibly amusing.

Medvedev feeling no pressure in final against Djokovic

Friday’s win sets up a finals face-off between Medvedev, the world No. 4, and Novak Djokovic, the world No. 1. In his on-court interview after the match, Medvedev displayed nothing but confidence. He said he has nothing to lose, while Djokovic is under pressure to run his eight-win Australian Open finals streak to nine wins.

“I like that I don’t have a lot of pressure because he’s never lost in the eight times he has been here in the final. It’s him who has all the pressure to get to Roger [Federer] and Rafa [Nadal] in the [number of] Grand Slams. I just hope that I’m going to get out there and show my best tennis.

“I can win against some big names if I play well and that’s the main part. He has more experience, but more things to lose.”

Medvedev also thanked the pro-Tsitsipas crowd — which booed him throughout the interview — for giving him the strength to compete.

“Thank you all, guys. Because your energy tonight give me the win. Because if you were not here guys I would probably lose the match, because I was so tired, I was cramping yesterday, it was so tough for me to play. So I want all of you to know, when you sleep tonight, I won because of you.”

Medvedev then stepped back from the microphone and raised his arms, reveling in the boos. He seems more than ready to take on Djokovic.