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Daniil Medvedev stuns Alexander Zverev in five-set Australian Open ...

Daniil Medvedev stuns Alexander Zverev in fiveset Australian Open
Daniil Medvedev recovered from two sets down to reach the Australian Open final with a brilliant 5-7, 3-6, 7-6 (4), 7-6 (5), 6-3 win over Alexander Zverev
Daniil Medvedev celebrates his victory over Alexander Zverev at Melbourne ParkView image in fullscreen

Daniil Medvedev stuns Alexander Zverev in five-set Australian Open epic

  • Russian battles back to win 5-7, 3-6, 7-6 (4), 7-6 (5), 6-3
  • Medvedev will face Jannik Sinner in final on Sunday

When Alexander Zverev first began to work his way up the ATP rankings as a precocious teenager tipped for greatness, Daniil Medvedev was nowhere to be seen. Medvedev took far longer than his peers to reach the top of his sport and, even when he finally did, he was still an afterthought compared with those with flashier games and years of hype.

Having made it the top though, though, Medvedev has established himself as the very best of his generation, and late on Friday night he delivered another statement victory over a peer as he recovered from two sets down to reach the Australian Open final with a brilliant 5-7, 3-6, 7-6 (4), 7-6 (5), 6-3 win over Zverev.

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As he looks to finally clinch his second grand slam title three years after his first at the US Open in 2021, Medvedev will face Jannik Sinner after the Italian’s four-set defeat of Novak Djokovic, the top seed and defending champion. Medvedev’s third Australian Open final and sixth grand slam final overall will be his first against a player other than the Serb or Rafael Nadal. “We say third time lucky, so let’s see,” said Medvedev. “I can say by experience it’s not always like this but hopefully here it works.”

This new comeback is the latest drama in Medvedev’s crazy ride through the Australian Open draw. He also came back from two sets down against Emil Ruusuvuori in the second round, in match that finished at 3:40am; he defeated Hubert Hurkacz, the ninth seed, in five sets and he has also endured numerous brutal matches in the sweltering Australia heat. Somehow he is still standing.

“I’m stronger than I was before this tournament because now I know that I’m capable of some things maybe I thought I’m not. Because before I didn’t do anything like this to get to the final,” said Medvedev.

Another victory for Medvedev over Zverev is further evidence of the significant mental edge he has built over the German. While Zverev dominated their first four meetings, the Russian has methodically turned their head-to-head around and he has now won 11 of their past 13 matches.

Alexander Zverev bangs the net with his racket in frustration during the final setView image in fullscreen

For two sets, Zverev exploited Medvedev’s passive play and deep court positioning by consistently moving forward to the net. As defeat neared though, Medvedev burst into life. He moved closer to the baseline, taking the ball earlier and taking time away from his opponent. In both tiebreaks, Medvedev kept himself alive by producing some incredible clutch tennis.

At 4-4 in the fourth set tiebreak, the Russian double faulted, offering Zverev a chance to serve out the victory. But then Medvedev followed up a brilliant forehand winner with one of the shots of the tournament – an unintentional drop shot return winner off Zverev’s first serve. Medvedev then closed out the tiebreak with an ace.

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As Zverev struggled physically and lost his composure, the eventual outcome was obvious by the final set. The decisive, predictable break for Medvedev came at 2-2 on Zverev’s serve as the German’s forehand fell apart. The world No 3 snatched the only service break in the final set and marched through his own service games to secure an incredible win.

Zverev’s tournament was preceded by the confirmation that he will face a public trial in May for allegedly physically abusing his former girlfriend, Brenda Patea, who is also the mother of his child. Zverev denies the charges.

The German’s trial is due to begin on 31 May and run until 19 July, meaning the next time he competes at a grand slam tournament, he is expected to be in the middle of his trial. Asked if the news distracted him from his tennis, Zverev responded: “No, because I have said it before: Anyone who has a semi-decent IQ level understands what’s going on. I hope that most of you guys do. I’m fine with it,” he said.

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