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PIX: Medvedev takes down Tsitsipas to set up Nadal final

Last updated on: January 28, 2022 18:20 IST
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IMAGE: Daniil Medvedev is aiming to become the first man in the Open era to win his first two Grand Slam titles in succession after his triumph in New York last September. Photograph: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

Daniil Medvedev will play Rafael Nadal for the Australian Open title on Sunday after a stirring victory over Greek fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in the semi-final on Friday.

The Russian world number two reached the Australian Open decider for the second year in succession by defeating Tsitsipas 7-6(5), 4-6, 6-4, 6-1.

 

Should Medvedev defeat the Spanish great, he will become the first man in the Open era to win his first two Grand Slam titles in succession after his triumph in New York last September.

The Russian denied Novak Djokovic the calendar Grand Slam in the US Open final and will now seek to stop Nadal from setting an all-time men's record of 21 Grand Slam titles.

Medvedev lost his temper late in the second set against Tsitsipas, accusing his rival of being coached by his father from the sidelines - which is against the rules.

"To be honest, I don't think that emotions helped me too much," the Russian said on court.

"You lose concentration and too much energy. As soon as I did it, I (thought), 'That is a big mistake'. I am happy I (regained) concentration at the beginning of the third set.

"I managed to pull out some serves and it brought me back into the match."

IMAGE: Daniil Medvedev denied Novak Djokovic the calendar Grand Slam in the US Open final and will now seek to stop the Spaniard from setting an all-time men's record of 21 Grand Slam titles. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Medvedev was also mindful of the importance of Sunday's final in the broader context as to which of the Big Three -- Nadal, Djokovic and Roger Federer -- will become the most successful man in history.

His defeat of Djokovic in New York last September denied the Serbian a chance to move ahead of Nadal and Roger on the all-time list, leaving all three tied on 20 major titles.

Medvedev, who lost to Nadal in five sets in the 2019 US Open final, will maintain the status quo at the top if he can reverse that loss to the Spaniard.

"I will play, again, against one of the greatest. And play against someone going for their 21st Slam," he said.

"Grand Slam finals are special. Of course, I remember that match against Rafa in my first final and we played like five hours, or something close to it.

"We have played a few matches since then and I am ready. I know that Rafa is a very strong player. I will need to show my best to win this match."

Rafael Nadal

IMAGE: Rafael Nadal celebrates after winning the semi-final against Matteo Berrettini. Photograph: Graham Denholm/Getty Images

Earlier, Nadal stood one win away from a men's record 21st Grand Slam title after overpowering Italian seventh seed Matteo Berrettini 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 to reach the final.

A win for the Spaniard in Sunday's final against either Daniil Medvedev will break a three-way tie with Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer and give him sole ownership of the record.

With rain bucketing down outside, the 35-year-old Nadal made a fast start under the closed roof of the Rod Laver Arena and took control by breaking Wimbledon finalist Berrettini's serve early in each of the first two sets.

Nadal's vicious top-spin forehand did most of the damage early on, pinning Berrettini down behind the baseline and leaving him very little time to produce his big groundstrokes.

"I started the match playing great. First two sets have been one of the best so far since a long time," Nadal said on court.

"I know how good is Matteo. He's a very solid player, very dangerous. In the third I knew at some point he's gonna go for the shots."

"We need to suffer and we need to fight. That is the only way to be where I am today. Honestly, it means a lot to me to be in the final here again."

Rafael Nadal

IMAGE: Matteo Berrettini acknowledges the crowd after losing to Rafael Nadal. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Just when it looked as if the match would go the same way as their only previous meeting, when Nadal won in straight sets at the 2019 US Open, Berrettini came alive.

He started forcing Nadal back with heavy forehands in the third set and a first break of serve for the 25-year-old Italian in the eighth game forced a fourth.

Nadal then got the crucial break in the eighth game as the Italian's unforced errors increased and another mistake -- his 39th compared to his opponent's 19 -- allowed the 2009 champion to convert his first matchpoint after a battle that lasted two hours and 55 minutes.

Rafael Nadal

IMAGE: A second Australian Open would make Rafael Nadal only the second man after Novak Djokovic to win every Grand Slam title at least twice since the sport became professional in 1968. Photograph: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

It will be the 29th major final for Nadal on Sunday and a second title at Melbourne Park would make him only the second man after Djokovic to win every Grand Slam title twice since the sport became professional in 1968.

"I have been a little bit unlucky during my career with some injuries and other times I played amazing finals with good chances," said Nadal, who will play in his sixth Australian Open final. "I was close a couple of times."

"I feel very lucky that I won once in my career in 2009 but I never thought about another chance in 2022."

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Source: REUTERS
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IPL 2022

IPL 2022