© Reuters. Australian Open
By Ian Ransom
MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Russian Daniil Medvedev lived up to Novak Djokovic's praise as a "man to hit" at the Australian Open when he entered his first final with an impressive 6-4: 6-2: 7-5 win over Stefanos Tsitsipas got on in Melbourne Park on Friday.
Fiery Medvedev wrapped the fifth seed of Greece in a blanket of flood in a floodlit Rod Laver arena, claiming his 20th straight win and 12th straight win over the top 10 opponents to make the decision of Djokovic's dynasty Playoff to end on Sunday.
The fourth seed Medvedev served like a machine until it was broken in the third set, which resurrected Greek fans on the terraces as Tsitsipas took a 5-4 lead.
But the Russian silenced a hostile crowd with the crucial break in Game 11, then slammed a forehand into the corner on his first match point to seal it.
"I'm happy to be able to keep my nerve because I still haven't fired that many bad shots," said Medvedev in court about his fearful third sentence.
"I was just trying to hit aces and winners or get the ball into the field. That's the only way to do it. That's how I stayed in the game."
World number 1 Djokovic, who beat Russian qualifier Aslan Karatsev to reach the final, will be a formidable opponent for Medvedev in his second Grand Slam Showpiece match.
The Serbian Djokovic is applying for a ninth Australian Open title and has never lost a final in Melbourne.
For Tsitsipas, the defeat was not as bitter as its demolition in the 2019 semi-finals by Rafa Nadal.
Still, he paid the price for another slow start, with Medvedev doing what Nadal couldn't in his five-time quarter-final defeat by Tsitsipas that week – and slamming the door on the Greek's revival.
Tsitsipas has now lost three Grand Slam semifinals, including a loss to Djokovic at the French Open last year.
After his grueling win over Nadal, the Greek said he felt defeated by Medvedev after two sets and wasn't sure the third win would have helped.
"Let me tell you that he's a player who has pretty much unlocked everything in the game," the 22-year-old said of Medvedev.
"It's like he reads the game really well."
After a cage-like start on a sultry evening at Rod Laver Arena, Medvedev stormed through Tsitsipas' defense to break in game five.
Tsitsipas fought for contact and saved three set points before the Russian hit an ace on the & # 39; T & # 39; suggested to seal it.
Arms outstretched, Medvedev soaked up whatever Tsitsipas could throw at him and, after a few rallies, fired a sizzling forehand winner to break the Greek and take a 2-1 lead in the second set.
Tsitsipas angrily retreated into his chair and slammed a bottle of water on the square, causing a squadron of towel-ridden ball kids to mop up.
Medvedev marched on, increasing three breakpoints at 4-2 and shooting down the line with a touch of arrogance to convert.
The Russian was soon strolling back to his chair two sets after an ace at set point.
Tsitsipas' fights became awkward for some in the crowd and a few mocking noises rang out when he was broken in the opening game of the third.
Medvedev drove to the finish line until his serve inexplicably wavered.
He made a double mistake to give away breakpoints, dropping the serve with a wild forehand, bringing the crowd to life.
A rejuvenated Tsitsipas shot back when Medvedev's ground missiles failed.
While the Russian's serve had kept Tsitsipas in check, it was his return that proved decisive when he broke the Greeks 5-5.
After sending a flaming backhand shot on the line, Medvedev waved his arms at the crowd and played the bad guy in an echo of his run to the 2019 US Open final.
He finished the match with a serve of 208 km / h, which Tsitsipas could barely make, allowing Medvedev to jog forward and fire the winning forehand.
Djokovic, the real "man to hit" in Melbourne Park, awaits you.