Australian Open: Daniil Medvedev overthrows Alexander Zverev and will face Jannik Sinner, who defeated Novak Djokovic, in the final

Perseverance paid off. In a fight lasting more than four hours, Russian Daniil Medvedev came from two sets behind to win against German Alexander Zverev in the semi-final of the Australian Open, Friday January 26: 5-7 , 3-6, 7-6 [7/4], 7-6 [7/5], 6-3. He qualifies for the sixth Grand Slam final of his career and will challenge the Italian Jannik Sinner on Sunday, who defeated Novak Djokovic earlier in the day.

Medvedev and Zverev faced each other for the nineteenth time, the first in a Grand Slam. The two players are renowned for not being the best of friends, as shown in the documentary series Break Point – the German having accused the Russian of breaking the rhythm of the match, after his defeat against the latter in Monte-Carlo. Carlo, in 2023. Friday, on the court of Rod Laver Arena, the tension was palpable.

Daniil Medvedev started in diesel mode, giving up two of his first three service games, committing five double faults. In the first set, his opponent dictated the rallies, but the world number 3 was on every ball, far behind the baseline.

Unlike the quarter-final, won against Carlos Alcaraz, Alexander Zverev had difficulty containing his emotions. He got angry, speaking virulently to his team, when Daniil Medvedev was content to tighten the point. But it was the German who won the first two rounds, raising his arms, listening and nodding.

Between the second and third sets, the Russian, returning to the locker room, was kept waiting, while Zverev paced around the court. Medvedev appeared physically tested, constantly speaking to his coach. But the finalist of the 2021 and 2022 editions held on. Solid on his serve, he did not concede any break points in the following set, which was finally decided in a tie-break in his favor.

The two men fought blow for blow. But Alexander Zverev gradually came out in his match, to the great satisfaction of his opponent, who smiled at each gesture of irritation from the German. The latter also complained about the Russian’s behavior to the referee: “He’s starting his show again. » In the fifth set, struggling with his serve, he hit the net several times with his racket.

At the end of a 4h18 battle, Daniil Medvedev won in five sets and qualified for his third Australian Open final in four years. The Russian spent 6 hours more on the Melbourne courts than Jannik Sinner, whom he will face on Sunday for the title.

The master of the place has fallen

Because, a little earlier in the day, the young Italian defeated the world number 1, the Serbian Novak Djokovic. Thirty-three victories in a row at the Australian Open, and then… defeat. The defending champion and ten-time winner in Melbourne, was eliminated in the semi-finals of the first Grand Slam tennis tournament of the season after some 3:30 hours of duel and four sets: 6-1, 6-2, 6- 7, 6-3.

After losing the first two sets, Djokovic managed to save a match point for his opponent in the third, before pocketing the set. But his burst of pride was short-lived. Author of 54 unforced errors in the match, he did not obtain a single break point in the game.

“I was struck by my level, but in a bad way. I didn’t do much good in the first two sets. It’s one of the worst Grand Slam matches I’ve played. It’s not a very pleasant feeling,” the person conceded, head down, at a press conference.

“I don’t know what to say, honestly. I was looking forward to this match. Novak beat me in the semi-finals at Wimbledon [in 2023]. For two sets, I felt that he didn’t have a good feeling on the court. I kept pushing,” declared the Italian (4th in the world), in front of the audience at the Rod Laver Arena, after the match.

Jannik Sinner will play his first Grand Slam final at the age of 22 on Sunday. Novak Djokovic, 36, had not lost at Melbourne Park since 2018. Since then, he had gleaned four more titles in five editions; the only exception, the year 2022, when he was unable to take part in the tournament, expelled from Australia for lack of being vaccinated against Covid-19. He was seeking an unprecedented 25th Grand Slam title. The record will still have to wait. This is the first time since 2005 that the Australian Open final will take place without the presence of one of the members of the “Big Three”: Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.