Daniil Medvedev reached the semis of the Australia Open with a five-set win over Hubert Hurkacz. Image by Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS
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‘Destroyed’ Medvedev makes another Open semi-final

Oliver Caffrey January 25, 2024

Russian third seed Daniil Medvedev does not believe his taxing Australian Open campaign will affect him ahead of a third consecutive grand slam semi-final.

The two-time Open runner-up set up a final-four meeting with Germany’s Alexander Zverev by defeating Polish ninth seed Hubert Hurkacz 7-6 (7-4) 2-6 6-3 5-7 6-4 in a thrilling quarter-final on Wednesday.

 Hubert Hurkacz (pic) took No.3 seed Daniil Medvedev to five sets before going down. Image by James Ross/AAP PHOTOS 

After securing the win in three hours and 59 minutes with a tricky drop shot, Medvedev celebrated by blowing three kisses to his box, mainly directed at coach Gilles Cervara.

Medvedev’s second-round battle against Finland’s Emil Ruusuvuori earlier in this year’s tournament went to 3.39am after also going five sets.

After walking off the court, Medvedev wrote on a camera: “Just want to sleep now”.

“After every match, I’m in the locker room. I’m destroyed,” he said.

“One day off is probably enough to feel good the next day. 

“So far, so good in the beginning of the matches, and that’s what matters. 

“Then try to win, and then if you’re dead after, doesn’t matter because you have a day off.”

The world No.3 is expecting his semi-final to be played as the night match on Friday, even though 10-time Open champion and world No.1 Novak Djokovic prefers the 7pm timeslot.

Djokovic and young Italian star Jannik Sinner won their quarter-finals on Tuesday, meaning they have an extra day off to recover than Medvedev.

“I think it’s kind of done in the schedule before the tournament, if I’m not wrong, so fine for me,” Medvedev responded to a question about playing on Friday night.

“The way the schedule is, because it’s only two matches, it’s not going to be possible it starts at 11pm, unless they play seven hours, which I doubt.”

Medvedev has been back to his best since making the semi-finals at Wimbledon last year.

He then made the final at the US Open, losing to Djokovic in straight sets.

It followed a concerning form slump after losing the 2022 Australian Open final against Rafael Nadal in heartbreaking circumstances.

Leading two sets to love at Melbourne Park in the decider two years ago, Medvedev looked on his way to a second major title and first in Australia.

But Nadal had other ideas, pulling off a remarkable comeback in one of the great grand slam finals.

Medvedev failed to make it past the fourth round in his next four appearances at majors, dropping out of the world’s top 10 after a third-round exit at Melbourne Park last year.

“You know, if there is almost no one left in the tournament, that means you’ve done a great job,” he said.

“There’s no one to disturb you. It’s just you, so go try to win it.

“I like this feeling.”

Zverev beats Alcaraz
 Alexander Zverev was left delighted by his four-set win over Wimbledon champ Carlos Alcaraz. Image by Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS 

In yet another post 1am finish on centre court, German fourth seed Alexander Zverev fought his way past Wimbledon champion and world No.2 Carlos Alcaraz 6-1 6-3 6-7 (2-7) 6-4.

The Spaniard looked out of sorts but mounted a comeback from 2-5 down in the third set, before Zverev put his foot down to return to the last four at Melbourne Park for the first time in four years.

Zverev’s win prevented all four top men’s seeds from progressing to the semi-finals.