Medvedev fights back from brink to set up Tsitsipas showdown

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Medvedev fights back from brink to set up Tsitsipas showdown
© Associated Press Daniil Medvedev saved a match point and recovered from two sets down to defeat Felix Auger-Aliassime in a four-hour plus epic at the Australian Open

Daniil Medvedev saved a match point and recovered from losing the first two sets to defeat Felix Auger-Aliassime and set up an Australian Open semi-final against Stefanos Tsitsipas.

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The world No 2 is looking to become the first man in the Open era to follow a first Grand Slam title by winning the next major tournament but his chances were hanging by a thread when Canadian Auger-Aliassime went two sets up.

Medvedev hit back to take the third but went match point down at 4-5 in the fourth only to save it with a big serve, take the set and clinch a 6-7 (4-7) 3-6 7-6 (7-2) 7-5 6-4 victory after four hours and 42 minutes.

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“I was not playing my best and Felix was playing unbelievable, serving unbelievable,” said Medvedev.

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“I didn’t really know what to do. I don’t know if you’re going to like this but I told myself, ‘What would Novak do?’ What came into my mind, I just thought, ‘OK, I’m going to make him work. If he wants to win it, he’s going to have to fight until the last point’. I managed to raise my level.”

Auger-Aliassime, 21, matched his opponent from the back of the court, putting doubt into the mind of the second seed during a series of lengthy exchanges, and two Medvedev double faults in the first-set tie-break proved costly.

The Canadian, who lost in straight sets to the Russian in the last four at the US Open, pressed home his advantage in the second set and looked for a break in the third.

Medvedev held on, though, and, after an ill-timed rain break to close the roof at 2-1 in the tie-break, capitalised on some loose play from his opponent to force a fourth set.

The contest remained on a knife edge, and a double fault from Medvedev brought up a match point for ninth seed Auger-Aliassime in the 10th game.

It disappeared in the flash of a big serve, and Medvedev broke in the next game and again early in the decider. Still it was not straightforward as Medvedev wobbled in sight of the line, but his serve came to his rescue again as he clinched an epic victory.

The Russian now faces a rematch of last year’s semi-final against Tsitsipas, who produced his best form of the tournament to defeat Jannik Sinner 6-3 6-4 6-2.

Tsitsipas will be hoping it is third time lucky in an Australian Open semi-final after his scintillating victory against Sinner.

Tsitsipas came into the event with uncertainty over his form and fitness following elbow surgery and has come through some tight matches, especially his fourth-round victory over Taylor Fritz.

The fourth seed, a semi-finalist in Melbourne in 2019 and 2021, showed no signs of fatigue in a match that started in blazing sunshine but finished under the roof after a storm hit.

Young Italian Sinner, seeded 11th, was expected to provide Tsitsipas with his biggest challenge of the fortnight but the Greek was in total control from the start.

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A finalist at Roland Garros last year, Tsitsipas was troubled by elbow problems at the end of last season and was concerned he might not be able to play in Australia.

“I am pretty sure my doctor is watching right now. He has been sending me texts after every single game,” he said.

“He said ‘I don’t expect to see you playing in Australia’. But I proved him wrong. I am happy I have found the right man to bring me back even stronger.”

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Medvedev fights back from brink to set up Tsitsipas showdown
© Associated Press Stefanos Tsitsipas was scintillating in his demolition of Jannik Sinner

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