Daniil Medvedev is simply not losing at the moment. Not up to the Top 10 opponents. Not to anyone, really. Certainly not Eastern Stefanos Tsitsipas in the semifinals of the Australian Open.
Medvedev reached his second Grand Slam final as he pursued his first major championship, defeating fifth seed Tsitsipas 6-4, 6-2, 7-5 at Melbourne Park on Friday to continue his winning streak to 20 match. This includes a dozen against Top 10 members.
In Sunday’s final (7:30 p.m. local time, 3:30 p.m. EST), No. 4 Medvedev will take on No. 1 Djokovic, who already holds eight Australian Open titles among his 17 Grand Slam trophies.
Medvedev, the runner-up at the 2019 US Open, was great against Tsitsipas, scoring 17 aces among his 46 winners. The last count included a sliding backhand pass along the break line in the next to last match, a shot that Medvedev celebrated by raising both hands and waving his arms in a gesture that told the world, “Check me out!”
Tsitsipas came out flat, looking exhausted after his epic five-hour, four-hour victory over 20-time main champion Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals.
It took only 75 minutes for Medvedev to take a two-set lead. He rose 3-1 in the third before Tsitsipas made things interesting, albeit briefly, by taking three straight games, including his only break in the match.
But Medvedev, his sophisticated defense, proved too tough.
During a set and earlier break, Tsitsipas sat down on a shift and pulled out an open bottle of water, causing a splash on the court, forcing the kids on the balls to fight over towels to wipe out the mess. The unpleasant scene attracted a side view from Medvedev.
At the start of the third set, Medvedev told court chairman James Keotawong that Tsitsipas’ father, who also coaches him, “speaks too much” from the stands.
Tsitsipas and Medvedev already have a bit of an awkward history dating back to their first meeting during the 2018 Open Open in Miami. Medvedev won it – he started his rivalry 5-0, although Tsitsipas announced his latest match before Friday – and ended with a little verbal will.
They have tried to smooth things over in the media in recent days, including Tsitsipas stepping back from tarnishing Medvedev’s style of play.
“I may have said in the past that he plays boring, but I don’t really think he plays boring,” Tsitsipas said this week. “He just plays extremely smart and outdoes you.”
Pretty good summary of what happened in the semifinals.