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Wednesday, October 4, 2023

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Wednesday, October 4, 2023

No pressure ahead of big clash with Rafa: World No. 2 Medvedev

Medvedev booked his place in Sunday's final with a 7-6(5), 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 victory over fourth-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas (Greek) on Friday.


Ahead of tomorrow’s Australian Open title showdown against Spanish stalwart Rafael Nadal, Daniil Medvedev, the World No.2 has said he is confident of his capabilities and there isn’t any pressure on him ahead of tomorrow’s final.

“I am aware of what I’m capable of when I’m playing well. There is not much pressure and I know I can beat anybody. The second round against (Australia’s) Nick (Kyrgios) was a tight one. But it gave me a lot of confidence in my power, in my own tennis,” Medvedev was quoted as saying by a news portal after the semi-final win.

Medvedev booked his place in Sunday’s final with a 7-6(5), 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 victory over fourth-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas (Greek) on January 28. The Russian is aiming to become the first male player to follow his maiden major crown with his second at the next Grand Slam event, after beating Novak Djokovic in the US Open final in 2021.

“I know (after the US Open) that I’m capable of winning seven matches in a row and the last one against Novak was epic. So, I knew before this tournament that it is possible. That is what I’m trying to prove,” he said.

This fortnight, the 13-time tour-level titlist has edged Kyrgios, Maxime Cressy of the US and Tsitsipas in four sets, while he saved a match point en route to his five-set victory against Canadian Felix Auger Aliassime in the quarterfinals. His two other wins here came against Switzerland’s Henri Laaksonen and Dutch player, Botic Van de Zandschulp.

Twenty-five-year-old Medvedev has enjoyed the run as he aims to go one step further this year in Melbourne compared to a year ago when he lost to Djokovic in the final.

“It’s been great and an emotional run at the Australian Open that started with the match against Nick (Kyrgios) and kept on building on with different players in every match. Some matches were mad. The Felix match, for example, was just crazy in terms of the game and the score. My matches with Stefanos are always emotional. I’m happy that I have the chance to win the title on Sunday.”

The second seed will compete in his fourth major final when he plays Nadal on Sunday. It will be the second time the world No. 2 has faced the Spaniard in the final of a Grand Slam, after losing to him in a five-set thriller at the US Open in 2019.

Medvedev’s other two meetings at this stage of a major came against Djokovic. “They are really strong,” Medvedev said, referring to the ‘Big 3’ (Federer, Nadal and Djokovic).

“Getting into the final is really tough, and I always have them there waiting for me. But it’s fun. When I was eight or 10 years old, I was playing against the wall, imagining that it was Rafael or Roger on the other side. Novak was still not yet there,” he continued.

On the challenge of facing Nadal, Medvedev added, “(It will probably be a) physical match. Rafael likes to drag people into long rallies. I like it too. I think it is going to be a great battle. But again, I remember last year’s final in Australia, even if it was against a different opponent. I’m going to be more ready, more focused, have a greater fighting spirit, and give it, both physically and mentally.” IANS

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