Daniil Medvedev dismissed rival Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets, 6-4 6-2 7-5, to reach the final of the 2021 Australian Open and set up a Sunday showdown with Novak Djokovic.
The Russian was in outrageously good form yet again as he ruthlessly disposed of Tsitsipas in what was an utterly sublime display on Rod Laver Arena.
The fourth seed never looked unduly troubled by the Greek as he secured a very fine victory in just two hours and nine minutes and will go into the final bursting with confidence.
Of Medvedev’s amazing 20 straight wins on tour, 11 have come against top-20 players, making his stunning run of form all the more impressive.
The 25-year-old has now reached his second Grand Slam final after he lost to Rafael Nadal in a five-set classic at the 2019 US Open and will be desperate to go one step further this time.
While the scoreline demonstrates that it was a fairly straightforward win for the Russian, it was at times a tempestuous affair between a pair that have a history on tour.
At one point, when the Russian led 6-4 and 2-1 with a break in the second set, Tsitsipas hurled his water bottle to the ground and caused a big spillage on the court.
The British umpire, James Keothavong, was immediately alerted to the fifth seed’s indiscretion by Medvedev, who was clearly eager to see his opponent punished. The Greek was duly rebuked but did not receive an official warning.
Then later, there was another petty tiff with the Russian not happy with what he perceived as repeated delays before his serves from his opponent.
Medvedev petulantly made his point by pulling out of his service motion and walking over to get his towel at the side of the court mid-game to delay the Greek, while the fans – strongly in favour of Tsitsipas – booed his reaction.
Tsitsipas had no joy on his opponent’s serve until the third set, which brought the throngs of Greek fans in the stadium back to life as he roared into a 5-4 lead, but it was no more than a fleeting resistance.
The Russian sealed the decisive break in the 11th game, and was utterly ruthless as he proceeded to close out the match to silence the hopeful, but ultimately disappointed, Tsitsipas fans.
Medvedev will now face world number one Djokovic in Sunday’s showpiece after the top seed cruised past Russian qualifier Aslan Karatsev in the first semi-final on Thursday.
Djokovic only narrowly leads the pair’s head-to-head 4-3, and with the incredible form Medvedev is in, it could well end up being a very memorable final at Melbourne Park.
Medvedev piled the pressure on the reigning champion ahead of their clash: “I like that I don’t have a lot of pressure because he’s never lost in the eight times he has been here in the final.
“It’s him who has all the pressure to get to Roger [Federer] and Rafa [Nadal] in the [number of] Grand Slams.”
“I just hope that I’m going to get out there and show my best tennis. I can win against some big names if I play well and that’s the main part. He has more experience, but more things to lose.”