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Medvedev in five to make final four

Medvedev in five to make final four
Daniil Medvedev has advanced to his third Australian Open semifinal, the third seed outlasting Polish ninth seed Hubert Hurkacz over five sets in four hours on Wednesday afternoon.

The 27-year-old must have had the locker room in sight when he served for the match at 4-3 in the fourth before getting broken.

“I’m happy like this, I managed to win and I really liked the match point,” he smiled, referring to the deft drop shot that sealed the win and inspired him to blow kisses at his players’ box. "Really proud with a lot of things in this match."

In the fifth set, the admittedly tired Medvedev was stepping up to the net when facing the wind and began to serve and volley on points just to hasten a result, thinking ‘If I lose, I fly home tomorrow.’

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He said he had similar thoughts during a brutal second round against Emil Ruusuvuori after dropping the first two sets, revealing that he plotted a potential flight path home before securing the comeback.

Medvedev knows that he covers more of the court than other top players, an unavoidable outcome because he elects to return from a position that’s several metres behind the baseline, a move that he explained to Jim Courier in an on-court interview after his fourth round match.

“Every time I play it’s tough, both for me and my opponent,” he said. “This Australian Open, I managed to win four sets [and] five sets, two times [each], so happy to make my opponents run, happy to run myself.”

But against the Polish ninth seed, Medvedev mixed up his return stance, occasionally receiving closer to the baseline in an effort to neutralise some of the height of the balls delivered by Hurkacz’s booming serve. 

Medvedev fired 11 aces and served 10 doubles faults during the entertaining clash, and ultimately won 156 points, eight fewer than Hurkacz, whose nickname “Hubi” is etched onto one of his tennis shoes.

The Pole, who boasted several minute-long service holds including one that featured four aces, displayed incredible mobility for his 6’5” frame. His ability to quickly change direction and move his foe corner-to-corner with a mix of blistering groundstrokes and slice off both wings forced Medvedev to produce under pressure.

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