Russian world No.2 Daniil Medvedev won his biggest cheer on Rod Laver Arena tonight when he pledged to watch Ash Barty’s Australian Open women’s final — despite a humorous mistake when initially suggested his dinner would be more important.
Medvedev reeled off the last five games to beat Greek star Stefanos Tsitispas 7-6 (5) 4-6 6-4 6-1 in a heated semi-final and continue his bid for back-to-back major titles.
Medvedev’s Australian Open campaign has had some chequered moments that has not always made him a crowd favourite this summer, most particularly when he labelled some members of the audience “low IQ” for the noise levels being made during his second-round match against Nick Kyrgios.
During his on-court interview after his win over Tsitsipas, US tennis legend Jim Courier asked Medvedev if he planned to tune into the women’s final on Saturday to watch Barty, an almost incomparable hometown favourite.
The Russian was at first honest to a fault, failing to see a chance to win an easy cheer from the crowd.
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“It depends what time they play,” Medvedev said.
“I am usually going to dinner at 8.15pm, so I’m going to watch the beginning of the match.”
“I’m trying to set you up to win this crowd over. You’re just kicking it,” Courier told him.
Realising his faux pas, Medvedev jumped straight back in: “I’m going to watch on my phone guys! I’m going to watch it.”
The pledge won him the cheer he deserved, and potentially some new support for when he takes on Rafael Nadal in the final on Sunday. Victory will make Medvedev the first man in the Open era to win his second Grand Slam title at the next major tournament.
The Russian said he would need to put in a special performance to avoid another defeat to Nadal, who he famously fell short to in the 2019 US Open final.
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“I will play again against one of the greatest, and play against someone going for their 21st Grand Slam,” Medvedev said.
“The last time [during the 2021 final between Medvedev and Novak Djokovic], Rafa was watching near the TV. I don’t know who he was cheering for but I think Novak will be watching this one in two days also.
“Grand Slam finals are special. Of course, I remember the match with Rafa in the US Open and it was my first Grand final and we played like five hours.
“We have played a few matches since then and I’m ready.
“I know that Rafa is a very strong player. I will need to show my best to try to win this match.”
– with AP
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