Australian Open: Relentless Medvedev knocks out Zverev in the semis; to play Sinner next

Daniil Medvedev advanced through to the final of the Australian Open for a third time after producing a dramatic comeback to beat Alexander Zverev

Melbourne, Jan 26 (IANS) Daniil Medvedev advanced through to the final of the Australian Open for a third time after producing a dramatic comeback to beat Alexander Zverev 5-7, 3-6, 7-6(4), 7-6(5), 6-3 in the second semifinal clash at Rod Laver Arena here on Friday.

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 2022, when he led Rafael Nadal by two sets.

The script initially favoured Zverev, who stormed into a 4-1 lead in the first set with a double break, seemingly dictating the narrative. However, Medvedev, battling the physical toll of gruelling matches, refused to succumb to the German’s dominance.

The pivotal moment arrived at 5-5, a juncture where Medvedev, fueled by an indomitable spirit, fought back into contention. A dramatic 51-shot rally unfolded, leaving spectators in awe, but it was Zverev who clinched the set with a decisive winner.

As the second set commenced, Zverev continued his surge, securing a break at 2-2 and consolidating his advantage to go 4-2 up. Unyielding in his pursuit, Zverev closed out the set with clinical precision, leaving Medvedev with a mountain to climb. Undeterred, the Russian took a strategic bathroom break at the end of the set, emerging with a renewed vigour that belied the physical toll.

The third set unfolded as a captivating battle, with both players matching each other shot for shot. The set culminated in a tie-break, a fitting conclusion to a battle marked by equality. Medvedev, seemingly on the brink of defeat at 3-1 down, seized the moment as cracks appeared in Zverev’s game. With unwavering focus, he capitalised on his opponent’s errors, forcing a fourth set against all odds.

What ensued was a war of attrition, with Medvedev adopting a relentless baseline grind that stifled Zverev’s pace. The momentum had shifted, and the Russian maestro took control, breaking Zverev to go 3-2 ahead. The tension mounted as they reached another tie-break, where Medvedev, propelled by a remarkable forehand drop shot, secured a set point and aced Zverev to force a decider.

Now in the ascendancy, Medvedev continued to dictate the rallies, forcing errors from Zverev’s racket. A crucial break at 3-2 paved the way for Medvedev to serve out the match, completing a comeback for the ages. The 5-7, 3-6, 7-6(4), 7-6(5), 6-3 triumph catapulted Medvedev into his sixth Grand Slam final, setting the stage for a showdown with the formidable Jannik Sinner.

–IANS

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