Daniil Medvedev is through to the Australian Open final after a marathon five-set victory over Alex Zverev in Friday night’s semi-final.
The Russian fought back from two sets down to seal the 5-7 4-6 7-6(4) 7-6(5) 6-3 victory in just under four and a half hours.
It was a remarkable comeback from the third seed, who had struggled to make inroads on Zverev’s impressive serve throughout the match.
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Long rallies were a feature of the enthralling battle, but a string of crucial unforced errors during the deciding fifth seed will keep Zverev up at night.
The German missed a number of short forehands and high forehand volleys to give away the break in the fifth game of the set.
He let his frustrations known by smashing his racquet into the net multiple times, which resulted in a code violation.
Zverev copped a code violation for this. Credit: Alessandra Tarantino/AP
“He is going to have nightmares about the mid to high forehand volley because it’s cost him this match or potentially going to cost him this match,” Todd Woodbridge said in commentary after another Zverev error in the final set.
There were no issues for Medvedev, who comfortably held his serve and then broke again to book his place in Sunday’s final against Jannik Sinner.
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The match was a near replica of the 2020 US Open final where Zverev threw away a two-set lead to lose to Dominic Thiem in his only grand slam final to date.
“It’s a nightmare for Zverev,” Jim Courier said.
“This whole scenario, given what happened to him at the US Open back in 2020, when he had the match, the tournament, on his racquet. He was going to be a major champion once and forever and wasn’t able to manage his side of the net.”
The match had threatened to boil over at times as the pair, who have a history of bad blood, traded more than just massive ground strokes.
Late in the fourth set, Medvedev held up play to request a video replay from the electronic line judge.
That appeared to get under the skin of Zverev, who approached the umpire and said, “he knows it was inside the line, he’s doing a show again.”
“This is a little bit over the top,” Todd Woodbridge said in commentary.
Medvedev is through to his third Australian Open final. Credit: AAP
The delay didn’t throw Zverev off his game with the German comfortably holding his serve to send it to a tiebreaker.
The sixth seed had the match on his racquet serving at 5-4 in the tense breaker, but dropped that point before a mishit return from Medvedev turned into the perfect drop shot.
Medvedev sealed the set and carried the momentum into the decider.
It will be his third Australian Open final after two previous losses to Novak Djokovic (2021) and Rafael Nadal (2022).