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Australian Open • Medvedev comes back from two sets down, saves match point to beat Auger-Aliassime

Daniil Medvedev has been the Australian Open title favorite ever since the first ball of the fortnight was struck, but he was one point away from bowing out on Wednesday night.

Medvedev saved a match point in the fourth set with a booming first serve and ended up coming back from a two-set deficit to defeat Felix Auger Aliassime 6-7(4), 3-6, 7-6(2), 7-5, 6-4 in a classic quarterfinal that lasted four hours and 41 minutes.

Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada during their men’s quarter final match of the Australian Open Grand Slam tennis tournament at Melbourne Park in Melbourne, Australia

The 2021 U.S. Open champion was one the brink of disaster in the third set, too. He survived a deuce game at 0-0 and then fought off a break point at 1-1 before both players held easily the rest of the way. Match point would come much later at 4-5, 30-40 in the fourth. Medvedev erased it and then promptly broke Auger-Aliassime at 5-5.

“Of course you are kind of tight,” Medvedev said of being match point down. “I mean, the thoughts going through your head (are) like, ‘what if I lose it? I’m going to be in the locker room in 10 minutes probably changing my flight to go back home. But in a way, you just focus…. There were so many tough pressure points, not only the match point itself. I did handle them pretty well starting from the third set.”

After serving out the fourth at 6-5, the second seed was off to the races with a break at 1-1 in the fifth. But it was never easy, as Auger-Aliassime had break points in each of his opponents final two service games. However, the 21-year-old Canadian could not convert.

“At the end you want to have no regrets,” Auger-Aliassime reflected. “It was a good effort. At the end of the day, I can’t regret the effort that I put (forth), and the chances I gave myself. Yeah, I like to look at it in a positive way. Of course I would have loved to win; I love to win every time. It sucks to lose in the end, but that’s life. I just need to accept it.

“It’s unfortunate I couldn’t win, but it was a good match. I showed good things. You know, I’m going to leave Australia with my head held high and I’m going to go into the rest of the season knowing that I can play well–I can play well against the best players in the world.”

Auger-Aliassime did everything he could; it just wasn’t enough. Medvedev was simply too good in the key moments.

During his on-court interview, the 2021 runner-up to Novak Djokovic said that when he found himself in trouble during the match he thought to himself, ‘what would Novak do?'”

A chorus of booing ensued, but the 2021 runner-up at Melbourne Park turned the boos into cheers when he quickly added, “or Rafa and Roger….”

Now Medvedev has a chance to do something that Djokovic, Federer, and Nadal never did: back up his first Grand Slam title with another triumph at the very next major.

Stefanos Tsitsipas is standing in his way on Friday, after which it would be either Nadal or Matteo Berrettini. Tsitsipas won his quarterfinal earlier on Wednesday in much less dramatic fashion, cruising past Jannik Sinner 6-3, 6-4, 6-2.

Ricky contributes to
10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.