With fits and starts and with more pain than glory, Daniil Medvedev got into the semifinals of the Australian Open after overcoming a deficit of two sets and saving a match point in the room before Felix Auger-Aliassime: 6-7 (4), 3-6, 7-6 (2), 7-5 and 6-4 in 4h42. In this way, he gained the opportunity to face on Friday (09:30, Eurosport) to Stefanos Tsitsipas, who beat a disappointing Jannik Sinner 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 in just over two hours. It will be the reissue of last year’s duel in the same round and on the same stage, the Rod Laver Arena.
Auger-Aliassime experienced something very similar to what had happened the day before to his compatriot Shapovalov against Rafa Nadal, although in that case it was Denis who unsuccessfully tried to lift a 0-2. Like the Spaniard, the Russian survived as best he could, but without apparent physical problems like those suffered by the one who could be his rival in a hypothetical final. Hence the penalty.
never count @DaniilMedwed out 🙅♂️
From two-sets-to-love down, the world No.2 completes the comeback to defeat Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-7(4) 3-6 7-6(2) 7-5 6-4 and advance to his second consecutive #AusOpen semifinal.#AO2022 pic.twitter.com/Pbel08qtGM
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 26, 2022
However, aside from the game, which was not brilliant at all, Medvedev showed champion race to avoid a debacle. The hit of the number two in the world, a finalist last year when he was beaten by Djokovic, would have been quite big. Because in the absence of the Serb, who will continue to lead the ranking no matter what happens in Melbourne, he is the big favorite to win the trophy and get closer to him in the standings. Also because not even a month ago he gave Auger-Aliassime a good look at the ATP Cup (6-0 and 6-4), although later Canada was proclaimed champion. His defeat would have been celebrated by Djokovic himself, Tsitsipas and on the other side of the table, Nadal, who would have seen the horizon of a possible feat in Oceania much less distant.
Hand in hand, among others, with Toni Nadal, Auger-Aliassime has progressed exponentially in recent months. Starting with the serve, an aspect of the game where he used to get caught with many double faults and which is now a deadly weapon in his game. He placed 18 aces on Medvedev and managed remarkable percentages of effectiveness. In addition, he played aggressively (64 winners) and without fear of failure (75 unforced errors). This is his high-risk tennis, which on this occasion did not have a prize for very little. Partly because of a loser stigma that sadly follows him when he faces important moments in his career. He has, for example, an infamous 0-8 record in finals.
It is true that he is still very young (21 years old) and that in front of him he had a rock of 25, an opponent who manages his temper better and better and even allows himself to express some positive emotions. “It is difficult to talk about what has happened. I wasn’t playing well and he was doing great. So I thought, what would Novak (Djokovic) do? (boos) or Rafa (Nadal) or Roger (Federer), who are just as great?
Tsitsipas emerges to enter the semis for the third time
Tsitsipas emerged at the most opportune moment, to get into the semifinals of the tournament for the third time (he already did it in 2019 and 2021). He had suffered in the previous three rounds, especially in the round of 16 when he beat Taylor Fritz in five sets, but in the quarterfinals he beat Sinner, in a match that started outdoors and It ended under cover of rain, just like Auger-Aliassime against Medvedev.
Hang this in the Louvre 🎨
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 26, 2022
“I am very happy with how I served and how he uses my tactics. I have proven to my doctor, who told me that he will not play here, that he could (he joked). He is a great person”said Tsitsipas, who has an outstanding and difficult record in the quarterfinals of Grand Slams. With this, he has played five and has won them all. He had the head-to-head win with Sinner (3-1 now). The 20-year-old Italian still lacks a boil to be able to aspire to greater heights in majors, although his performances so far in Melbourne invited optimism at least to the possibility that he had planted something more in the face of Tsitsipas. But he had nothing to do, in fact, he had no break chances and he lost his serve four times, by as many break points that the Athenian converted without fail, encouraged from the stands by a large representation of his countrymen.