Reaching the final of the Australian Open is far from new for Serbian Novak Djokovic. 33. Sunday’s decision (21), at 5:30 in the morning (with ESPN broadcast), will be the world’s No. 1 in Melbourne, and it won all eight. Have played till date.
For his rival, 25-year-old Daniel Medvedev, the scenario is quite different. In fourth place, the Russians will make the second Grand Slam final of their career in Australia, in search of an unprecedented title in the biggest tennis stages.
The Slam has 17 trophies in Serbian and tries to contact 20 of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
Although the résumé is second to none, Medvedev also has numbers to boast about. The Russian for the US Open in 2019, after defeating Nadal by a five-set game, has won 20 in a row since November last year, during which he won three titles: Masters 1,000 Paris, ATP Finals, most express career achievement, ATP Cup (representing Russia).
In the 2020 finals, he defeated Djokovic, Nadal and Dominic Thiem in the top three in the rankings. Of the 20 consecutive successes, 12 were against athletes who are in the top 10.
Medvedev said, “Everyone is great when you win, because I think people start getting a little scared of you.” “At the same time, sometimes some would like to beat it even more.”
On this Friday (19), he started the campaign with a strong win over the Greek Stephanos Tsitipas, who had changed his game against Nadal in the previous leg. A balanced duel was expected, but the Russian offered no chance and was locked at 0 in 3 sets.
This was the same score as AAP’s four other matches in the competition. They only lost the set in the third round, against Filip Krajinovic, when they opened 2–0, drew and recovered to close the clash with 6 game 0s in the fifth. One of the oscillations that he cannot think of repeating in front of Djokovic on Sunday.
But Medvedev, who has focused on some scenes of furious attacks and bad behavior in court over the years. This allows your talent to stand out and sometimes amaze.
The slim, 1.98-meter athlete can score points in every way: for powerful actions and for his ability to attack, undue influence, cap-to-impact, or even sustain the ball for long periods of time. The repertoire is huge, and if he is having a good day, he would know how to use that arsenal in the most intelligent way.
An example: In front of Tsitsipas, Medvedev returned the Greek at the last moment of the match, after completely crossing the Greek serve, at the bottom of the court, reaching a ball close to the ground and backhand pass. He paralyzed the Greeks from the network. For many, it was the point of the championship.
Former American tennis player John McEnroe called him a master of chess. In the circuit, peers turn to the animal world in search of comparisons for their playing style. Octopus and spider have already been mentioned.
Djokovic, who leads 4-3 from head to head, knows he does not want an easy life this Sunday. “Daniel Medvedev is the man being beaten,” the Serbian said after advancing to the finals.
His mode of decision was complicated, especially in the third round, when he needed a fifth set to defeat American Taylor Fritz after experiencing abdominal pain. He only won in straight sets in his debut and a semi-final against Russian Underdale Aslan Karthsev. On the other hand, he did not face great fear again and proved less uncomfortable with the injury.
The truth is that no one wants to enter the favorite label for the title controversy, which may have an audience (about 7,500 people) at Rod Saver Arena. The tournament began with a cheer, it was banned when Melbourne went into lockdown and fans were admitted again on Thursday (18).
Medvedev said, “I am the challenger, who challenges the man who reached the finals eight times and won eight times. I am happy with it.”