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Daniel Medvedev reminded the world on Friday evening that when he puts on his best performance, he has the ability to defeat anyone on the planet. The third-seeded player defeated previous winner Carlos Alcaraz 7-6(3), 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 to advance to the US Open final.
A 27-year-old has set up a rematch against Novak Djokovic in the 2021 Flushing Meadows final. Two years ago, Medvedev had stunned Djokovic, thwarting the Serbian player’s dreams of winning all four majors in a single season. On Sunday, he will make an effort to prevent Djokovic from capturing a Grand Slam title that would tie the record for most victories ever.
Medvedev, in his on-court interview, said, “The challenge is to play the person who has won 23 Grand Slams and I have only one.” “When I beat him here, it meant I played better than myself, and I need to do it again. There isn’t an alternative.”
Medvedev, after winning his quarter-final against Andrey Rublev, revealed that he needed an “11 out of 10” performance to defeat Alcaraz, and that’s exactly what he delivered, saving eight out of nine break points to secure victory after three hours and 18 minutes. He has now advanced to his third championship match in New York.
“Medvedev rated his performance as an 11 out of 10, emphasizing that he played exceptionally well, even though there was a drop in performance during the third set.
There is no other option. I don’t know if he’s still 20 or 21, but he’s that young, with already two Grand Slams and weeks as World No:1. Since none else seems to have done it, it is truly unbelievable.
Medvedev entered the semi-finals this season against Alcaraz, having lost his previous two head-to-head encounters. The Spaniard won all five sets played in those clashes, and not once did he lose more than three games in any set.
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However, this didn’t seem to faze Medvedev, who delivered an almost flawless performance within the confines of Arthur Ashe Stadium, preventing his opponent from making a comeback in the first two sets of their encounter. Alcaraz may be ahead 9-1 in their head-to-head clashes and 5-0 at Flushing Meadows, but he struggled to pull ahead in the decisive set against the 20-year-old Medvedev, who currently trails 4-9 in the fifth set.
Medvedev did not let the hype around the potential Djokovic-Alcaraz championship match distract him. He had superb footwork and ball striking, particularly with his forehand. He prevented the top-seeded player from giving directions as easily as he typically does, leading to crucial moments with errors.
Notable figures like Tom Brady, Kevin Durant, and Charlize Theron were also in the crowd, watching closely as in the first set, there seemed to be no way to separate Medvedev and Alcaraz. However, in the tie-break, Alcaraz hit a poorly executed drop volley, allowing Medvedev to chase down a forehand and ultimately secure a crucial mini-break.
Alcaraz, still refused to give up easily. The reigning Wimbledon champion managed to break serve for the first time in the match, taking a 2-1 lead and successfully holding onto that advantage. Medvedev continued to play deep on the court and the defending champion kept pushing forward.
The 20-year-old player won 13 out of 15 net points in the third set, while Medvedev secured 4 out of 13 net points. Alcaraz took control with authority and mastery over the points, while his opponent often found himself on the wrong end of fast-passing shots.
The third set wasn’t as bad. I lost one service game. I didn’t get many opportunities on his serve, but I felt like I wasn’t too far off. So I said to myself, ‘I need to keep pressing.’ I had a few break points at 1-all. It was a very crucial, super long game where I managed to create some incredible points to stay in the match, and then he – maybe we don’t see him do that often – he started to make a few errors. Yes, incredible!”
As Medvedev continued to make a strong comeback from deep behind the baseline, Alcaraz displayed exceptional skills at the forecourt, consistently executing sharp serves and volleys. However, Medvedev eventually put his opponent at a 4-2 deficit with a net error.
After a gripping exchange to push forward within a game of victory, Medvedev needed to reach the finish line. In the final game of the match, Alcaraz conjured even more magic, earning three break points, but the 2021 champion refused to concede and denied them all.
However, if Medvedev manages to overcome Djokovic in the US Open final, Alcaraz will maintain a 30-point lead in the live race to the Turin ATP.
This extraordinary tennis clash has all the makings of a historic showdown, and the world will be watching with bated breath as these titans of the sport vie for supremacy on the grandest stage.