Daniil Medvedev is the irresistible force of tennis, and he will face Novak Djokovic, the immovable object of Melbourne Park, in the decisive match of the Australian Open on Sunday after a semi-final clinic on Stefanos Tsitsipas. The fourth-seeded Russian was on a different level from the fifth-seeded Greek as he achieved his 20th consecutive victory, 12 of which have come against the top 10 rivals and include titles in the ATP Cup, ATP Finals and Masters. from Paris.
The 25-year-old hit more than double the number of winners and made nearly half of the unforced errors by winning 6-4, 6-2, 7-5. He had patience and precision against an opponent who seemed out of place after his quarter-final marathon against Rafael Nadal.
With her slim body, long tousled hair, and headband, Tsitsipas looks like Björn Borg rendered for an ultra-modern video game. But the similarities do not extend backwards. Borg famously used two handsTsitsipas only one, and entering the match he was responsible for the three fastest setbacks of the tournament so far. Here he disappointed him with 16 unforced errors on that side compared to just three winners.
Melbourne claims to have the largest Greek population of any city outside of Greece, so it came as no surprise that Tsistipas had the crowd on his side. Chants of “Tsitsipas, Hellas!” rang out in a stadium dotted with blue soccer jerseys and flags. They did their best to wake up their hero, especially during a third set revival, but their screams rose up into the bleak blue sky.
To borrow a soccer cliché, Medvedev moves well for a great man. It measures six feet, six inches but is lightweight and operates with economy of motion. It is leisurely, efficient, agile. His mental coach, Francisca Dauzet, has previously explained that “his mind is very big. It is very complex, like a computer. He has a lot of things and he can add up all the points in a second ”.
This real-time point decryption was applied almost immediately. “During today’s game I saw that just moving him around the court was not easy for him,” Medvedev explained on the court afterwards. “As soon as I saw him in the first set, he immediately became my favorite.”
“He’s a player who has unlocked pretty much everything in the game,” admitted a pessimistic Tsitsipas. “He cheats on you. Play the game very smart. “
This manifested in an excellent courtship to earn a break point in the fifth game, and again by undoing Tsitsipas’s serve to love to advance 5-2 in the second set. That humiliation made Tsitsipas throw a bottle of water that exploded on contact with the ground, a lot for Medvedev fun.
That was the closest to conflict this contest came, even though it featured one of the fiercest rivalries on the tour. This couple received verbal blows for the first time in Miami 2018 when Medevdev unloaded after the victory. “He’s a little boy who can’t fight,” he chided Tsitsipas under the nose of the chair umpire. “Our chemistry is definitely not the best you can find on tour,” Tsitsipas commented recently. “It just happens with people, not that you like them all.”
Medevdev didn’t break until the middle of the third set, and in a flash the crowd came to life. Unusual mistakes energized Tsitsipas and an unlikely second comeback seemed possible. Medvedev put it out with three straight games to close out the match. It was another supreme example that this once volatile maverick was now a serious gamer. “I’m happy that I managed to keep my nerves because I didn’t make so many bad decisions,” he explained, with his usual expression of indifference on his face.
Unsurprisingly, trust is building around Medevdev. His coach Gilles Cervara spoke before Christmas, after the Paris Masters and the ATP Finals. “This result proves that Daniil can go further,” he said. “Even if the road will be long and winding. With the way he played in those two tournaments, we now have this precious feeling that he can do it. You can win Slams. “
Progress in sport is often long and tortuous, especially in tennis, a sport that relies on an obstacle that interrupts the progress of straight lines. It is commonplace for races to fade and diminish before a moment of enlightenment or an accumulation of experience returns the traveler on the road. Medvedev has survived his trial and is ready to receive his reward.
“I just hope I can go out, show my best tennis,” Medvedev said, looking forward to a delicious encounter with Djokovic. “As we see, I can win some big names if I play well.”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism