Medvedev snatches victory from the jaws of defeat in Australian Open semis

The Russian digs deep to overwhelm long-term rival Alexander Zverev in a gripping five-setter

By ATP

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Russia's Daniil Medvedev celebrates after victory against Germany's Alexander Zverev during their men's singles semi-final. - AFP
Russia's Daniil Medvedev celebrates after victory against Germany's Alexander Zverev during their men's singles semi-final. - AFP

Published: Fri 26 Jan 2024, 5:25 PM

Daniil Medvedev came back fom the brink for the fourth time in his career on Friday when he moved past long-term rival Alexander Zverev 5-7, 3-6, 7-6(4), 7-6(5), 6-3 to reach his third Australian Open final.

Meeting for the 19th time but first at a major, Medvedev was two points away from defeat in the fourth-set tie-break but stayed composed, eventually advancing to his sixth Slam title match after a four-hour and 18-minute epic inside a lively Rod Laver Arena.

The 2021 US Open champion, who now leads Zverev 12-7 in the pair’s Lexus ATP Head2Head series, will aim to clinch his second major trophy when he takes on Italian Jannik Sinner on Sunday after the fourth seed defeated record-10-time champ Novak Djokovic in four sets.

The World No. 3 struggled to find his best level across the opening two sets, with Zverev outlasting his deep-lying opponent in the gruelling baseline exchanges. However, the 20-time tour-level titlist refused to go away and dug his heels in.

He forced Zverev to hit an extra ball in rallies, while he moved forward more frequently to pull the German around. His first-serve percentage increased from 50 per cent across the first two sets to 71 per cent in the decider and he hit 22 more winners in the final three sets compared to the first two.

With his 27th match win in Melbourne Park, Medvedev is the 13th man in the Open Era to reach the Australian Open final on three or more occasions, having lost in 2021 and in 2022, when he led Rafael Nadal by two sets.

Earlier this fortnight, the 27-year-old rallied from two sets down to defeat Emil Ruusuvuori, with the second-round match finishing at 3:40 a.m. He also took out Top 10 Pole Hubert Hurkacz in five sets in the quarter-finals.

Zverev was aiming to reach his second major final after advancing to the US Open title match in 2020, when he was two points away from victory against Dominic Thiem. The World No. 6 won five-set matches against Lukas Klein and Cameron Norrie in Melbourne this fortnight.


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