Medvedev to face Rafa in Aus Open final

A BLOCKBUSTER showdown is locked in for the 2022 Australian Open final. The King of Clay Rafael Nadal is gunning for the outright record Grand Slam title, breaking away from Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer. But first he has to overcome the red-hot Daniil Medvedev who broke through for his first major at the last Grand Slam, the 2021 US Open.

[6] Rafael Nadal (ESP) defeated [7] Matteo Berrettini (ITA) 6-3 6-2 3-6 6-3

Spanish sixth seed Nadal had to recover from dropping the third set against seventh seed Italian Matteo Berrettini to win in four sets. The King of Clay stood tall when challenged, needing two hours and 55 minutes to weather the Berrettini power, and triumph, 6-3 6-2 3-6 6-3.

Berrettini produced 14 aces to five, and won 74 per cent of his first serve points off a 67 per cent clip. Though Nadal only produced the fives aces, he won 73 per cent of his first serve off a 69 per cent clip. The Italian hit 10 more winners than the classy Spaniard (38-28), but in his typical fashion, Nadal only hit 19 unforced errors to Berrettini’s 39.

Showcasing his court IQ and ability to get to any ball, Nadal broke four times to one, and was able to capitalise when getting to the net (75 per cent), and winning 34 per cent of his total receiving points.

“I started the match playing great,” Nadal said post-match. “The first two sets were two of the best for a long time. I know how good Matteo is, he’s a very solid player, very dangerous. In the third I knew at some point he was going to go for his shots. We needed to suffer, we needed to fight, we fought again and that’s the only way to be where I am today. It means a lot to me to be in the final again here.”

[2] Daniil Medvedev (RUS) defeated [4] Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) 7-6 4-6 6-4 6-1

Despite word number four Stefanos Tsitsipas‘ best efforts early, the top ranked player at the Australian Open stormed to a four-set win to book his spot in the Australian Open final. The second seeded Russian bounced back from losing the second set and being down in the third, to run away with the contest and win eight of the last nine games. After two and a half hours on court, Medvedev emerged victorious, 7-6 4-6 6-4 6-1.

The Russian was clinical once he got going, though not always cool, calm and collected. Known for his passive, almost stonewall emotion, Medvedev lost his cool on a couple of occasions, complaining to the chair umpire about Tsitsipas being coached by his father in the stand. Though the Russian received a code violation for his conduct that included questioning whether the umpire was stupid, Tsitsipas ironically received a code violation for coaching later in the match. That code violation rattled the Greek fourth seed who fell apart after that.

Medvedev served 13 aces to five, and won massive 86 and 72 per cent of his first and second serve points off a 71 per cent clop. Though Tsitsipas still won 67 and 62 off 69 per cent efficiency, it was Medvedev’s consistency in play that allowed him to take control. The Russian might have only hit four more winners (39-35), but also had four less unforced errors (28-32), breaking four times to two, though the Greek saved eight of Medvedev’s break point opportunities.

Nadal and Medvedev will clash for the fifth time in their careers, with the Spaniard leading 3-1, all of which have come on hard court. Though their most recent clash – in 2020 – went the way of Medvedev in a nail-biting three-setter.

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