Felix couldn’t have come much closer today, he even held the one match point against Daniil Medvedev in the fourth set of his five-set loss to the Russian. FAA charged to a two-set lead and was dominating Medvedev, his big-serving was followed by hugging the baseline and letting rip and that put him in this position. Medvedev for his part wasn’t playing to his level but that was partly down to Felix, who was even coming on top in the longer rallies. Medvedev did step his game up from there on in but Felix was able to live with him, it was just those little tweaks that proved the difference on the day. I think Felix was ahead on most stats but the key one he wasn’t was when it came to breakpoint conversions (2/11) and that was what decided this, nothing else. Medvedev really is a machine and on most of those breakpoints you knew there was a big serve on its way, his mentality was showcased once again here and it is very impressive. It really is just a refusal to lie down. The fact it went under the roof certainly didn’t do him any harm either. FAA is very, very close now though and today proved he is somewhere near the level he needs to be.
Medvedev will continue his rivalry with Stefanos Tsitsipas and they have had some explosive coming together in the past, a quick search on YouTube will prove that. Stefanos has had his troubles and somehow managed to go off outsider against Jannik Sinner but he proved the doubters wrong with a comprehensive straight-set win. It was the most complete match he has posted this week and there wasn’t really any negatives, each part of his game looking in good shape. It will need to be against an opponent he trails in the head-to-head 2-6, Medvedev is 2/5 (1.4) with the betting firms and seems to be shortening (he was 1/2 (1.5) earlier). You would normally think that the 4 hours 38 minutes on court against Felix would not suit Medvedev but I doubt it will have much of a bearing such is his mentality and physicality.
Iga Swiatek got off to a poor start and was a bit edgy against Kaia Kanepi but weathered the storm and proved just a little bit too good for the Estonian in the end. She actually served ten double faults in the first two sets and she will want to address that for her semi-final and certainly in the final if she is to make it. As the match wore on Kanepi was the player making the errors as she started going for a bit too much. This lasted for three hours and she will want to hope she can recover in time. It has been tough back to back matches today and against Cirstea previously but I think she will be fine.
Danielle Collins will be her semi-final opponent in what was a relatively one-sided contest against Alize Cornet, who ran out of gas. That isn’t much of a surprise with the brutal matches she has had in Melbourne this week and said she lacked experience at this stage of a major, whereas Collins has been here and got the t-shirt, so to speak. The American had too much firepower but she does seem to be struggling with a back injury. She said after, “It feels incredible, especially after some of the health challenges that I’ve had. And to be able to get back to this level and be able to compete like the way I have been and being able to be as physical as I have been has been so rewarding, especially playing against the girls that I have been playing against the last couple of matches, playing against really good competitors, really great athletes, and to be able to compete with these women, it’s an honour”. The head-to-head with Swiatek is 1-0 to the Pole, albeit via a retirement in Adelaide last year. Swiatek is around the 4/6 (1.67) as it stands with the betting firms.
Al Davies (Andy Del Potro).