Daniil Medvedev wins another Australian Open classic to reach final

Daniil Medvedev survived another grueling five-set match at the Australian Open on Friday, rallying from two sets down to defeat Alexander Zverev 5-7, 3-6, 7-6 (4), 7-6 (5), 6-3 and reach the final in Melbourne.

The Russian is 0-2 in Australian Open finals. On Sunday, he’ll meet Jannik Sinner of Italy, who defeated 10-time tournament champion Novak Djokovic in four sets in the other semifinal.

The sixth seed, Zverev was aggressive in the first set, masterful at the net and converted all three of his break chances. He continued the strategy of heading off shots from Medvedev at the net, winning 17 of 19 net points in the second set.

Medvedev, the third seed, won the tight third set, helped by winning 84 percent of the points on his first serve against Zverev. That continued into the fourth set, with Medvedev winning points on 19 of 21 first serves (90 percent), and he struck 14 winners against six unforced errors.

Zverev couldn’t maintain his intensity in the deciding set as Medvedev broke his serve twice. The German hit only eight winners in the set compared to 21 unforced errors.

“First set, honestly I think we both didn’t play that good,” Medvedev said post-match. “The second set I thought I played a bit better than the first set. He played very well, 6-3, two breaks, I didn’t have chances on his serve. I was a little bit lost but during the third set I said if I was going to lose this match I was going to be proud of myself. I want to fight until the end, and if I lose I lose, and I managed to win and I am very proud.”

Medvedev moved to 12-7 all-time against Zverev following the four-hour, 18-minute semifinal.

The semi was the third five-set match in Melbourne for Medvedev, who went the distance against No. 9 seed Hubert Hurkacz of Poland in the quarterfinals and against Emil Ruusuvuori of Finland in a second-round match that was played until almost 4 a.m.

Medvedev said fatigue set in against Zverev.

“At one moment in the third set I felt tired physically,” Medvedev said. “Looking at him I didn’t see it. I thought I couldn’t run anymore for 40-plus rallies like we did in the first sets, so I thought to go more aggressive and if it doesn’t work out I tried what I thought would work. It started working.

“I made better shots that I didn’t before and started to serve better. In the tiebreak I got a little bit lucky at 5-5 on return. The slice was intentional but the drop shot with back spin against the wind was not intentional. Sometimes you have to be lucky and today is my day.”

Medvedev is 6-3 in his career against Sinner, but the Italian has won the past three.

Medvedev said he was impressed by Sinner’s victory over Djokovic, who hadn’t lost in Melbourne since 2018.

“I need to recover well and be 100 percent on Sunday,” said Medvedev, whose only Grand Slam title came at the U.S. Open in 2021.