WILL EVANS’ daily preview serves up Australian Open tips for a mouth-watering semi-final showdown between Stefanos Tsitsipas and Daniil Medvedev in a repeat of 2021.
20:30 (AEDT), Fri 28th [email protected] Melbourne Park
History: Played 8: Medvedev 6 V Tsitsipas 2
First meeting: French Open, 2021 (QF): Tsitsipas d Medvedev 6-3 7-6 7-5
Final Thoughts: Stefanos Tsitsipas and Daniil Medvedev square off in the Australian Open semi-finals for the second straight year. But this clash shapes as a much closer affair than Medvedev’s 6-3 7-6 7-5 victory 12 months ago.
The tournament favourite from the outset following Novak Djokovic’s deportation, second seed Medvedev has been tested over the past 10 days. Nick Kyrgios (second round) and Maxime Cressy (fourth round) took a set off him in lengthy encounters.
But the reigning US Open champ had to dig deep into his reserves of energy, resilience, poise and brilliance to overcome ninth seed Felix Auger Alliasime in the quarters. Double-faults and unforced errors plagued Medvedev as he found himself two sets down. But after coolly closing out a third-set tiebreak, the 25-year-old grinded out a 6-7 3-6 7-6 7-5 6-4 victory in one of the finest Australian Open matches in recent memory – perhaps of all time.
Medvedev has been at odds with the Melbourne crowd during this campaign but appears to be thriving in his quasi-villain role.
Tsitsipas has also had his difficulties but appears to be peaking at the right time. The fourth seed was taken to four sets by Sebastian Baez and Benoit Paire, while he twice fought back from a set down in a five-set victory over 20th seed Taylor Fritz in the fourth round.
But it all clicked for the Greek 23-year-old in the quarters. The underdog heading into the match, Tsitsipas dismantled in-form 11th seed Jannik Sinner 6-3 6-4 6-2 – not even offering up so much as a break point opportunity, and converting all four of his own.
Confidence-boosters for Tsitsipas in lopsided H2H
The superstars have met eight times, with Medvedev boasting a 6-2 advantage. But Tsitsipas’ two victories came within their last three clashes. After Medvedev’s convincing semi-final win in Melbourne last year, Tsitsipas returned the favour with a straight-sets French Open quarter-final victory.
This is Tsitsipas’ third Australian Open semi, losing to Rafael Nadal in 2019 and Medvedev last year. He also went down to Djokovic in the 2020 French Open semis before beating Alexander Zverev at Roland Garros in 2021 to reach his maiden Slam final, where he lost to Novak in five.
Medvedev has a 3-1 record in Grand Slam semis, reaching the final at the 2019 and 2021 US Opens (winning the latter) and last year’s Australian Open (a loss to Djokovic). He lost in the 2020 US Open semis to Dominic Thiem.
This shapes as an epic encounter. Will Medvedev be under fatigue after his 4 hours and 42 minutes quarter, or will it harden his resolve? Can Tsitsipas replicate his near-flawless display against Sinner? I’m leaning towards Medvedev, but the world No.2 looks far too short at $1.39. Expect it to go at least four sets, with Tsitsipas providing the value in game handicap markets.