By Lobsang DS Subirana
Bangkok Desk, Feb 19 (efe-epa).- Russia’s Daniil Medvedev made the final of the Australian Open by beating Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas in their Friday semi-final match in Melbourne.
The 2019 US Open finalist beat the No. 5 seed after a relatively comfortable 6-4, 6-2, 7-5 victory in two hours and 10 minutes to reach his second Grand Slam final.
“It was not easy but I’m happy that I was able to turn my game on… I saw the statistics and I was dominating in winners,” Medvedev said, adding that he tried to play longer points when he saw the Greek struggle during the rallies. “When I was moving him around the court it wasn’t easy for him.”
Medvedev was first to strike after going a break up at 2-2, taking advantage of Tsitsipas’ erratic backhand, responsible for seven of the Greek’s 11 unforced errors in the first set.
The Russian himself played an aggressive brand of tennis, hitting 14 winners – more than double than the No. 5 seed’s six. He closed it off in just under 40 minutes despite some brief resistance from the Greek.
The errors continued for Tsitsipas at the start of the first set, as he was unable to use the energy from the Rod Laver Arena, clearly spurring him on at the expense of the Russian. But an unfazed Medvedev broke again at 1-1 to the bemusement of the crowd, capitalizing on the Greek’s poor first-serve percentage.
He would repeat the feat at 4-2 and comfortably serve out the set, during which Tsitsipas equaled his first-set error tally and Medvedev equaled his winner count.
The No. 5 seed appeared to quickly lose composure, as even a six-minute interval to change his outfit didn’t appear to help him. The Russian broke quickly to go 2-0 up and continued his methodical tennis to keep producing winners and forcing the Greek’s errors. However, Tsitsipas wasn’t out just yet.
“His father is talking way too much,” Medvedev was heard saying early in the third set, referring to Tsitsipas’ dad and coach Apostolos, who received a coaching violation during the Greek’s quarter-final defeat of No. 2 seed Rafael Nadal.
That and a slight delay from his opponent appeared to affect the No. 4 seed’s game, who from a chance to go up a double break, got broken back instead, as Tsitsipas drew level at 3-3.
The Greek began finding his game and moving into the court, winning 12 of 14 net points as he held at 4-5 just at the two-hour mark. But just as quickly as he got into the match, Tsitsipas tuned out, giving Medvedev four break points which he converted with an outstretched backhand return down the line to serve for the match at 6-5.
“I just try to hit aces and winners,” he said when asked post-match what he did when he felt uncomfortable on court.
And so he did, as the Russian never looked back, winning the last game to seal his straight-sets victory. Medvedev will play world No. 1 Novak Djokovic in Sunday’s men’s singles final. EFE-EPA