Sports, Tennis

Medvedev in Nadal’s path to Slam greatness


By AFP
Published : 29 Jan 2022 09:04 PM

Daniil Medvedev won a tempestuous Australian Open semi-final against Stefanos Tsitsipas on Friday and will face Rafael Nadal, who is bidding to become the all-time men's Grand Slam leader, in Sunday's final.

World number two Medvedev beat fourth-ranked Tsitsipas 7-6 (7/5), 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 to reach his second straight Australian Open final.

Earlier the 35-year-old Spanish great powered past the Italian seventh seed Matteo Berrettini 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.

Nadal is level on 20 majors with his golden era rivals Novak Djokovic, who was deported on the eve of the tournament, and Roger Federer, who is absent with injury.

It gives the Spaniard an opportunity to go clear at the top in Sunday's final and add to his lone 2009 Melbourne Park crown in his sixth Australian Open final.

Medvedev was in a fiery mood and given a code warning after raging at the chair umpire during his clash with fourth seed Tsitsipas, whose father Apostolos was also given a warning for coaching from the player's box before inadvertently helping trigger his son's collapse.

Medvedev is shooting for back-to-back major titles after upsetting Djokovic in last year's US Open final.

Like in New York last September, when he stopped Djokovic from completing a calendar Grand Slam of titles, Medvedev will be trying to derail Nadal's tilt at making men's tennis history.

"I'm going to play against one of the greatest and someone going for the 21st Slam," Medvedev said.

"I'm ready, I know that Rafa is a very strong player and I need to show my best to try and win this match."

But Nadal said the Australian Open title meant more to him than a record 21 career Grand Slams.

"For me at the end it's about more than all these statistics, it's about being in the final of the Australian Open one more time. That means a lot to me," Nadal said.

"To me it's more important to be in the final of the Australian Open and fight to win another Australian Open than the rest of the statistics for the history of the sport.

"I just feel happy to be part of this amazing era of tennis, sharing all these things with another two players."

"That's it. In some ways it doesn't matter if somebody achieve one more or one less."