Saturday, 28 May, 2022

Medvedev beats Tsitsipas to stand in Nadal’s path to Slam greatness

Barty, Collins face off for title today

Medvedev beats Tsitsipas to stand in Nadal’s path to Slam greatness
Spain’s Rafael Nadal celebrates after victory against Italy’s Matteo Berrettini during their men’s singles semifinal of the Australian Open in Melbourne on Friday. – AFP PHOTO

Daniil Medvedev won a tempestuous Australian Open semi-final against Stefanos Tsitsipas on Friday and will face Rafael Nadal, who is bidding to become the all-time men's Grand Slam leader, in Sunday's final.

World number two Medvedev beat fourth-ranked Tsitsipas 7-6 (7/5), 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 to reach his second straight Australian Open final.

Earlier the 35-year-old Spanish great powered past the Italian seventh seed Matteo Berrettini 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.

Nadal is level on 20 majors with his golden era rivals Novak Djokovic, who was deported on the eve of the tournament, and Roger Federer, who is absent with injury.

It gives the Spaniard an opportunity to go clear at the top in Sunday's final and add to his lone 2009 Melbourne Park crown in his sixth Australian Open final.

Nadal said the Australian Open title meant more to him than a record 21 career Grand Slams.

"For me at the end it's about more than all these statistics, it's about being in the final of the Australian Open one more time. That means a lot to me," Nadal said.

It has been an extraordinary effort from Nadal at the year's opening major, having to modify his game to compensate for a degenerative bone disease in his left foot that ended his 2021 season last August.

He then caught Covid in December which, he said, made him "very sick".

Meanwhile, Danielle Collins faces a daunting task in the Australian Open final today against a world number one who is aiming to become the first homegrown women's champion in 44 years, backed by a fiercely partisan crowd.

But the resurgent American is ready to tackle top seed and clear favourite Ashleigh Barty.