Australian Open semifinal: Daniil Medvedev vs Stefanos Tsitsipas

Daniil Medevdev

Daniil Medvedev was on the verge of being ousted, sent onto the street and wave goodbye. He was down to sets to love, and Felix Auger-Aliassime was on fire. The Canadian was bouncing around, he was slapping the ball, going for the shots, and making it in. In the first set, he grabbed it, 7-6, and in the second set, Auger-Aliassime did it once again, leaping on the lines and took 6-3.

Medvedev was frustrated.

“The thoughts going through your head, like ‘What if I lose it? I’m going to be in the locker room in 10 minutes probably changing my flight to go back home and something.’ I had zero confidence after the two sets. He was playing insane, like better than I have ever seen him play. It was unreal.”

In the third set, Auger-Aliassime was so close to winning it that night, but the former US champion Medvedev kept his cool, and finally, he took control, keeping his head down. He recovered and hours later, he won it 6-7, 3-6, 7-6, 7-5, 6-4.

“In a way, you just focus, you’re there, and at least me, I’m like, ‘Where do I serve, T or wide?’ Well, I decided to go wide, managed to make it,” No. 2 Medvedev said. “Because second serve is tough, second serve is where you’re like do I go for the big one, do I go for the safe one? Your hand is shaking a little bit more than on the first one and just slap it and pray. There were so many tough pressure points. I did handle them pretty well starting from the third set. I had zero confidence in myself and in the outcome of the match. I just tried to fight.”

He really fought. On Friday, he will face another a fine player, the No. 4 Stefanos Tsitsipas. Both of them are pretty young, and the Greek blitzed Jannik Sinner 6-3 6-4 6-2. Tsitsipas played perfectly, but you never know what he feels the next day.

Medvedev beat a variety of players, even when he is playing so-so. It was not easy against Nick Kyrgios, Maxime Cressy and Auger-Aliassime. He also will have to play another top draw when he has to put Tsitsipas against the wall.

The No. 4 Greek has yet to win a Grand Slam, but he was right there at the final at Roland Garros, losing to Novak Djokovic in five amazing sets.

Now, Tsitsipas is ready. As he said, “I feel like I’m in the zone.”

Medvedev can be so steady, and then he can pound it and pound it again. He has always been a terrific first serve, and his massive forehand and backhand. But two years ago he started to improve his return, and also, when the tall man can bend down and put it away. He badly wants to raise the trophy again.

“I need to continue fighting and try to win next two matches. If it’s true, then it will be history. It’s perfect.”