Daniil Medvedev showed off his champion mentality on Friday, stepping up and delivering under duress to reach the Australian Open final for the second time. Under the lights on Rod Laver Arena, the second seed showed a mix of quality and grit in defeating fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas 7-6(5), 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 in a high-quality match to set up a final showdown against Rafael Nadal.
“Some matches are very even,” Medvedev said in his on-court interview. “I missed some balls at a few moments where I could have got a break and he missed a few at the start of the third set. Then from 5-4 in the third [set] I just found some momentum and started to read his serve and put every ball in. I hit some very important passing shots and his energy went down because of this and my energy went up.”
The return of @DaniilMedwed 🇷🇺
The world No.2 is back in the #AusOpen men’s singles final, defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas 7-6(5) 4-6 6-4 6-1.
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 28, 2022
With his flat and powerful groundstrokes, the Russian, who reached the championship match in Melbourne last year (l. to Djokovic), targeted the Greek’s backhand from the baseline. After two hours and 34 minutes, Medvedev hit 39 winners and broke four times to advance.
The 25-year-old is now 7-2 in their ATP Head2Head series, having beaten the World No. 4 at the same stage last season in Melbourne. After winning the US Open in September, Medvedev is aiming for his second Grand Slam title. If he beats Nadal on Sunday, he will also become the first player to follow up his first major title with a second at the next Grand Slam event.
After defeating Italy’s Matteo Berrettini 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 in two hours and 55 minutes, Nadal will face Medvedev in the final. In their ATP Head2Head series, Nadal leads Medvedev 3-1 and is aiming for a record-breaking 21st major title in Melbourne. In the 2019 US Open final, the Spaniard held off a spirited comeback from Medvedev, winning in five sets after the 25-year-old rallied from two sets down.
“I am going to play again against one of the greatest and against someone going for their 21st Grand Slam. Grand Slam finals are special and I can remember the final against Nadal at the  US Open. It was my first final and we played for about five hours. We have played a few matches since then and I am ready,” Medvedev said.
Medvedev is 19-1 in hard-court majors since the start of last season. This fortnight, the 13-time tour-level champion beat Nick Kyrgios and Maxime Cressy in four sets before saving a match point to beat Felix Auger-Aliassime in five sets in the quarter-finals. Henri Laaksonen and Botic van de Zandschulp were his opponents at Melbourne Park.