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Daniil Medvedev has another opportunity to land a first Grand Slam title after beating Stefanos Tsitsipas to reach the Australian Open final.
The in-form Russian won 6-4 6-2 7-5 against Greek fifth seed Tsitsipas, to secure his 20th victory in a row.
Fourth seed Medvedev, 25, will contest his second major final when he meets Novak Djokovic on Sunday (08:30 GMT).
After losing in the 2019 US Open final, Medvedev aims again to become Russia’s first male major champion since 2005.
In his way stands top seed Djokovic, who is bidding for a record-extending ninth men’s title at Melbourne Park.
Medvedev has won three of their past four meetings but facing the 33-year-old Serb in an Australian Open final – in which he has a 100% winning record – should be a different proposition.
On what he has learned from losing to Rafael Nadal in New York, Medvedev said: “I took a lot of experience. It was my first Grand Slam final against one of the greatest and on Sunday I will face one of the other greatest.
“I don’t have a lot of pressure because Novak has never lost here in the final. He has all the pressure to get to Roger Federer and Rafa [in the all-time record of 20 men’s titles].
“I hope I will get out there and show my best tennis. As we have seen, I can win against the best names if I play well. He has more experience but more things to lose than me.”
Medvedev proves again he loves the big stage
Similar to Djokovic, Medvedev has an excellent all-round game which is difficult for even the very best to unpick.
The Russian dominated Tsitsipas to earn his 12th successive win against a top-10 opponent.
Medvedev has the ability to be a defensive wall which can prove indestructible, but also finds the angles to crack winners and leave opponents feeling helpless.
Again that proved to be the case against a frustrated Tsitsipas, who has now lost six of their seven meetings.
After a taking the first break point of the match for a 4-3 lead, Medvedev’s depth and consistency started to cause errors from Tsitsipas’s racquet.
A minor blip as he tried to serve out an engaging opening set was quickly overcome, Medvedev taking his fourth set point with an ace down the middle.
Medvedev began to pummel Tsitsipas’ single-handed backhand and was rewarded with another break in the third game of the second set.
The Greek showed his annoyance by smashing an open water bottle onto the court and, like he did against Rafael Nadal in Wednesday’s quarter-final, faced the prospect of having to overturn another two-set deficit if he was going to reach a maiden Grand Slam final.
Tsitsipas unable to find ‘nirvana’ again
Tsitsipas put his comeback against Nadal down to staying in a state of “nirvana”, but he continued to look stressed – perhaps hindered by the weight of expectation from the pro-Greek crowd – as his opponent started finding angles and cracking winners in an inspired spell.
Medvedev broke again for a 5-2 lead and dropped just one point in the final three games for a two-set advantage.
The atmosphere on Rod Laver Arena quickly became subdued. Medvedev broke in the first game of the third set and threatened to go a double break up in the fifth – then momentum suddenly switched.
Tsitsipas held serve and rallied to earn his first break point of the match, taking his second opportunity to level at 3-3 as Medvedev’s execution suddenly dipped.
But hopes of a comeback for 22-year-old Tsitsipas disappeared as quickly as they arrived.
Medvedev regrouped and broke again for 6-5 by landing what former British number one Annabel Croft described as “the shot of the tournament”.
Seemingly stranded at the opposite side of the baseline, Medvedev lunged for the ball with a double-hand stretching backhand that he somehow converted into a winner down the line for the game.
Medvedev waved both arms in the air as he danced on the baseline to celebrate, with some Tsitsipas fans in the crowd covering their faces in shock at what the Russian had just done.
From that there was no recovery for Tsitsipas. Medvedev took the first of two match points when the Greek was unable to return a thumping backhand.
Source: BBC Sport