I do love a bit of bite in a tennis match and Daniil Medvedev v Stefanos Tsitsipas tends to deliver. There has not been much love lost between these two since the meeting in Miami back in 2018 where it kicked off after Medvedev heard Tsitsipas refer to him as a ‘bull sh*t Russian’. When Stefanos had levelled the match up at one set apiece today Daniil went mad. He was saying that Apostolos Tsitsipas was coaching (standard procedure) and asked the umpire if he was going to issue a code violation to his opponent and I quote “If you don’t, you are… how can I call it… a small cat“. All I can say is LOL!!! I think he utilised his energy well after this and reset, if anything it spurred Medvedev on as opposed to letting it get under his skin. From 4-4 in the third, he dropped one more game as their levels went separate ways. The Russian just did everything better than Stefanos which I think has been the issue for Tsitsipas in this head-to-head and matchup. The serve was the key factor (86% won behind a 71% first serve with15 aces) but you just fancy him in the longer rallies too, he is just that bit more solid all around. The handshake was as cold as ice as you would expect. Daniil has now made back to back finals at the Aussie Open, he will be looking to go one better than last year when he lost to Nole in the final having been heavily fancied to beat him.
It will be a repeat of the US Open final in 2019 when Rafa won in five sets. Nadal took care of Matteo Berrettini in four sets today. For two sets this looked like it was going to be over very quickly but the Italian did manage to make a fight of it in the third and fourth but it was always unlikely he was going to turn it around on this occasion. Rafa took advantage of the weaknesses and limitations in the Berrettini backhand in what looks like it is a good matchup for him. Berrettini said, “I had been struggling some days with my stomach, then twisted my ankle before and during the tournament. This is not the reason I lost the match, he played better than me.” Nadal said, “Honestly this means so much to me to be in the final.” Another interesting quote was when Medvedev was asked about who Nadal would have been cheering on in the New York final last year, in relation to Rafa potentially making history on Sunday, “I don’t know who he was cheering for [in 2021 US Open final] but I think Djokovic will be watching this one in two days also.” Maybe a few mind games there? The early betting markets have the Russian as a 4/7 (1.57) favourite. Nadal leads the head-to-head 3-1 with Medvedev winning the most recent meeting at the end of years finals at the O2 in 2020.
Al Davies (Andy Del Potro).