Tennis | Australian Open 2022 | History and expectation headline Men’s semi-final day

  • Daniil Medvedev [2] v Stefanos Tsitsipas [4]
  • Rafael Nadal [6] v Matteo Berrettini [7]
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – History and expectation dominate the storylines on Men’s semi-finals day. Who will reach the final in Melbourne on Sunday?

 

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Daniil Medvedev [2] v Stefanos Tsitsipas [4] | Medvedev leads 6-2

Daniil Medvedev is looking to win back-to-back grand slams and be in the final in Melbourne for a second successive year. Just like at last year’s Australian Open Stefanos Tsitsipas stands in his way as the Greek looks to achieve what looked like the impossible in the off-season and win his maiden grand slam title in Melbourne.

H2H & Match Fundamentals

Daniil Medvedev [2] v Stefanos Tsitsipas [4]

H2H: Medvedev leads 6-2

Australian Open

Melbourne, Australia

Hard (O)

Prize Money: A$895,000

3rd on Rod Laver Arena (Not before 08:30 GMT)

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US Open champion Daniil Medvedev is looking to win back-to-back grand slams and is also looking to answer questions over whether the Russian can deal with expectation as with Novak Djokovic’s absence, Medvedev is arguably the favourite for the title.  

However it has been far from easy for Medvedev with tough four set victories over Nick Kyrgios and Maxime Cressy in this tournament and more recently a comeback from two sets to love down to defeat Felix Auger-Aliassime in four hours and 42 minutes. However the Russian has remained firm and is now two wins away from a second grand slam title.

Standing in Medvedev’s way is long-time rival Stefanos Tsitsipas who has overcome doubts from his own doctor, after having elbow surgery in the off-season, to not only compete in Australia but to be in the semi-finals.

Tsitsipas has had to overcome tough tests against Sebastian Baez, Benoit Paire and a very tough match against Taylor Fritz on his way to the last four. Although his impressive straight sets win over Jannik Sinner shows the world number four is well-placed to win his first grand slam title in Melbourne.

Ahead of the clash with Tsitsipas, Medvedev said he drew inspirations from some of tennis’ great champions in his win over Auger-Aliassime and is ready to fight for the title, “I told myself ‘what Novak (Djokovic) would do?’ Because he’s one of the greatest champions. Or Roger (Federer) or Rafa (Nadal), they have won so many matches like this,” Medvedev told the Australian Open website.

“Stefanos is a tough player. We had a lot of matches already. A lot of tough ones. Last year I managed to play pretty well, so I just hope that I’m gonna serve well and show my best tennis and that’s how we can have a good match. It’s a semifinal of a Grand Slam. So even if I’m in the worst shape of my life, I’m gonna fight my best and try to make it tough on my opponent.”

As for Tsitsipas he was very happy with the way he served against Sinner and revealed he is proving his doctors wrong with every match, “I am very, very happy with the way I served today and the way I came in and used my tactics in today’s match structure. Having the crowd support is truly unbelievable,” Tsitsipas said in his on-court interview.  

“I’m pretty sure my doctor is watching right now. He has been sending me texts after every single game. We both didn’t expect for me to participate at the Australian Open. It was not part of our plan. He certainly told me, ‘I don’t see you playing in Australia’. But I proved him wrong.”

The key to the match for Medvedev is his defensive work and extending the rallies, putting Tsitsipas in uncomfortable position in the court. If the Russian can rush Tsitsipas’ shots then he could be looking at a place in the final.

As for Tsitsipas he needs to shorten the points, be aggressive with the first serve and come to the net when the timing is right. The world number four can also use slices to mix up the tempo in long rallies but can’t engage in a physical battle for too long.  

These players have a history and know each other’s games so well that it won’t take time for any of them to work out effective solutions on the court.

Although Tsitsipas has the most energy, Medvedev’s ability to tactically outsmart the Greek in a best of five set match should give the Russian the edge here.

Prediction: Medvedev in four sets.

 

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Rafael Nadal [6] v Matteo Berrettini [7] | Nadal leads 1-0

Rafael Nadal stands two wins away from a record-breaking 21st grand slam title but will have to overcome Matteo Berrettini to reach the final with the Italian becoming the first from his country to reach the Australian Open semi-finals.

H2H & Match Fundamentals

Rafael Nadal [6] v Matteo Berrettini [7]

H2H: Nadal leads 1-0

Australian Open

Melbourne, Australia

Hard (O)

Prize Money: A$895,000

2nd on Rod Laver Arena (Not before 03:30 GMT)

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Rafael Nadal is into the semi-finals in Melbourne for the sixth time and his first since 2019 with the Spaniard two wins away from a record-breaking 21st grand slam title.

The Spaniard reached the last four with a five set win over Denis Shapovalov and had to overcome stomach problems to do so as he looks for arguably one of his best grand slam title wins in recent years.

Standing in the way of Nadal is Matteo Berrettini who is the first Italian player in history to be in the semi-finals of the men’s singles.  

After overcoming five set battle over Carlos Alcaraz and Gael Monfils, Berrettini now looks to make his second grand slam final in the last six months.  

Ahead of the clash Nadal said that it was a miracle that he won his quarter-final and the Spaniard said that his happiness doesn’t depend on winning a 21st grand slam title in Melbourne, “I don’t know, [it] was a little bit of miracle. I was destroyed honestly, physically. But my serve worked well, and for me, every game that I was winning with my serve was a victory,” Nadal admitted after the Shapovalov match.  

“I don’t believe that my happiness, my future happiness is going to depends on if I achieve one more Grand Slam than the others or if the others achieve more Grand Slams than me. No, I am super satisfied and feel [I am a] very lucky person in general for all the things that happened to me in this life. I have a way to approach life. You can’t be always frustrated if the other, if the neighbour has a bigger house than you or a better phone or a better thing. I’m not going to be frustrated if Novak or Roger finishes their career with more Grand Slams than me.

“Being in [the] semi-finals means a lot to me against have a victory against a great player after all the things that I went through, so it’s amazing news. I’m super happy. Of course after eight matches you feel a little bit more confident and the things are going a little bit more automatic again. I have been playing well.”

As for Berrettini the Italian is just happy to be in the last four after two tough matches to get into the semi-finals in Melbourne, “It feels unbelievable. I am really happy for myself,” Berrettini told the ATP Website.

“What a great fight against Gael. It was a great match with a lot of emotions. I thought I had him in the third set and then I found myself in the fifth. But I really fought hard and put everything on the court and that is why I am really happy.”

Nadal will look to use his topspin and pace to cause trouble to the Italian’s backhand and use slice to force errors from the Italian’s weaker side.

Berrettini will need to start well on his serve and forehand, shortening the points up and limiting his time on court.

The longer the match the goes, the more it will favour the Spaniard especially seeing how quickly Berrettini’s game faded away against Monfils when fatigued. It should be an entertaining match with the winner having the chance to make history on Sunday.

Prediction: Nadal in four sets.

 

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WATCH: Australian Open 2022 Day 11 – Match in a Minute

 

 

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