“It was my first Grand Slam final against one of the greatest,” Medvedev said in his on-court interview. “I’m going to come against one of the other greatest.”
But in sizzling form. Medvedev has now claimed 12 consecutive matches against top-10 opposition and boosted his winning streak overall to 20 matches - equaling the tally of women’s finalist Naomi Osaka. One of those came against Djokovic, the eight-time Australian Open winner.
The Russian moves tremendously well and counterpunches with aplomb but also benefits from a massive serve.
Against Tsitsipas, he struck 17 aces and won 88 per cent of points behind his first serve. Overall he registered 46 winners, coupled with a mere 21 unforced errors.
Tsitsipas, meanwhile, couldn’t duplicate his heroics of the final three sets against Nadal, despite a brief rally in the third. Three aces and a differential of minus-11 in winners and unforced errors cost him dearly.
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He might have been fatigued, both mentally and physically, following the four-hour battle, and Medvedev suggested as much.
“I saw that as soon as I was moving him around the court, it was not easy for him,” said Medvedev. “As soon as I saw it in the first set, that became my strategy straight away.”
But even in peak condition, Medvedev would have been extremely difficult to topple.
The Russian laid down a marker on the very first point, his penetrating ground strokes giving Tsitsipas little opportunity. Tsitsipas, though, held for 1-0.
Medvedev and great pal Andrey Rublev contested a 43-shot rally in the quarterfinals — won by Rublev — and a 25-stroke exchange came in the fourth game.
This time, Medvedev won it. Lured in by a short Tsitsipas slice cross court, he ripped a backhand down the line.