In difficult conditions under the hot Melbourne sun, Daniil Medvedev battled past countryman Andrey Rublev 7-5, 6-3, 6-2 to reach the last four at the Australian Open for the first time.
Medvedev has won 19 consecutive matches dating back to the start of last year’s Paris Masters. Both Russians walked onto the court full of confidence, undefeated on the season, each holding an 8-0 record. But Medvedev frustrated the seventh seed with his combination of brick wall defence and opportunistic offence to triumph after two hours and five minutes.
Rublev, who had made three Slam quarter-finals before but never gone further, looked exhausted and Medvedev broke straight away in the third set. He quickly went 0-3 down, shaking his head at the changeover as he sloshed water on his face to try to revive himself. But he was spent and Medvedev shut out the pain of cramping leg to reach the finish line.
“That’s definitely one of the best matches I’ve played lately”: Medvedev on Rublev
The reigning ATP Finals champion has now won 11 consecutive matches against Top 10 opponents. By virtue of reaching the semi-finals, Medvedev is guaranteed to reach at least a career-high No.3 in the ATP Rankings following this event.
“I would say the three last points when I was getting ready for the serve I could not really move my left leg” he said, with both players cramping in the “super-tough” conditions.
“But I’ve known him a long time and I know how to neutralise his big shots. That’s definitely one of the best matches I’ve played lately, not even just here but last year.” Medvedev added.
“It wasn’t easy. It was unbelievable, because he was playing really good and I managed to beat him in three sets.” he said.
Medvedev was all praises for his other countryman, Aslan Karatsev.
“I’m so happy for Aslan, he made history,” he said. “If we’ll have a Russian final, it’s just gonna be a dream come true but we’re also gonna have quite tough matches and tough opponents”
“Really happy that I can watch such a match (referring to the Nadal-Tsitsipas QF),” Medvedev added. “[It’s] not going to be easy no matter who wins.”
“I think I’m one of the few players to make Andrey that tired and I’m quite happy about it,” said Medvedev. “I know how to neutralise his amazing big shots [and] that was definitely one of the best matches I played lately, not only here but even last year.”