Tennis

Australian Open | Medvedev fights back from the brink; Swiatek rallies to beat Kanepi

Daniil Medvedev of Russia celebrates after defeating Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada in their quarterfinal match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne.

Daniil Medvedev of Russia celebrates after defeating Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada in their quarterfinal match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne.

Daniil Medvedev rallied from two sets down and saved a match point before beating No. 9 Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-7(4), 3-6, 7-6(2), 7-5, 6-4 on Wednesday to move into the Australian Open semifinals.

The U.S. Open champion’s bid to become the first man in the Open era to win his second Grand Slam title in the next major tournament is still on track after the 4-hour, 42-minute comeback victory.

Medvedev will play French Open runner-up Stefanos Tsitsipas on Friday in a rematch of last year’s semifinals at Melbourne Park. Medvedev won at the same stage last year, but lost the final to Novak Djokovic.

Tsitsipas beat No. 11 Jannik Sinner 6-3, 6-4, 6-2.

Facing defeat Wednesday, Medvedev got a break. A six-minute delay in the third-set tiebreaker for the roof on Rod Laver Arena to be closed during a rain shower swung the momentum mostly his way.

Auger-Aliassime won only one of the last six points in the tiebreaker after dominating for the first two sets. He missed a match point on Medvedev’s serve in the 10th game of the fourth set.

Medvedev saved it with a big first serve out wide and then held with an overhead winner.

‘What would Novak do?’

“I was not playing my best, and Felix was playing unbelievable, serving unbelievable — he was all over me,” Medvedev said. "I didn’t know what to do so I (asked) myself, ‘What would Novak do?’

“And I just thought, OK, I’m going to make him work. If he wants to win it, he has to... fight to the last point.”

The temperature dropped for the men's quarterfinals from the highs of the afternoon, when Iga Swiatek beat 36-year-old Kaia Kanepi 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-3, with the payoff being a spot in the semifinals against Danielle Collins.

“This match was crazy,” the 20-year-old 2020 French Open champion said. “First set I think my mistake was I had so many break points, I felt like I missed my chances. In the second set … I felt like she’s playing so fast that I can’t be tight. I had to finish my forehands.”

The temperature reached 36 degrees Celsius on Day 10, continuing a week of hot weather.

Collins won the opening match before the heat peaked, swinging it in her favour with a key service break in the final game of the opening set on her way to a 7-5, 6-1 victory over Alize Cornet.

The 115th-ranked Kanepi was coming off a three-set win over second-ranked Aryna Sabalenka and took the match to Swiatek, who saved nine set points before losing the first set.

Swiatek rallied in the second and third sets. And, after being broken while serving for the match the first time, she eventually clinched it on Kanepi's serve.

After the first three quarterfinals were decided in straight sets — Ash Barty beat Jessica Pegula and Madison Keys beat Barbora Krejcikova on Tuesday — the last one went all the way.

As she left the court, Swiatek wrote on the TV camera lens: “Thank you for the support. # Tired.”

Collins' win means there are two Americans in the semifinals. Keys will play Wimbledon champion Barty.


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Printable version | May 23, 2022 4:29:59 am | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/tennis/australian-open-medvedev-fights-back-from-the-brink-swiatek-rallies-to-beat-kanepi/article38330613.ece