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Australian Open 2021: Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Daniil Medvedev preview, head-to-head & prediction

Stefanos Tsitsipas after beating Rafael Nadal
Stefanos Tsitsipas after beating Rafael Nadal
Rudra Biswas
ANALYST
Modified 17 Feb 2021
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Match details

Fixture: Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Daniil Medvedev

Date: 19 February 2021

Tournament: Australian Open 2021

Round: Semifinals

Venue: Melbourne, Australia

Category: Grand Slam

Surface: Outdoor hardcourt

Prize money: AUD $80,000,000

Live telecast: USA - ESPN / Tennis Channel | UK - Eurosport 1 | India - Sony Six

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Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Daniil Medvedev preview

Daniil Medvedev at the 2021 Australian Open
Daniil Medvedev at the 2021 Australian Open

Stefanos Tsitsipas will be looking to reach a maiden Grand Slam final when he takes on familiar foe Daniil Medvedev in the Australian Open semifinals on Friday.

Tsitsipas stunned former Australian Open champion Rafael Nadal in their last-eight clash on Wednesday, despite losing the first two sets comfortably. Nadal missed several opportunities in the third-set tiebreaker to let Tsitsipas back into the match, which was all the invitation the Greek needed.

The 22-year-old started playing with more conviction towards the end of the match, and eventually closed out the decider 7-5. He will now renew his rivalry with World No. 4 Daniil Medvedev, who is bidding to reach his second Grand Slam final.

Medvedev fought past countryman Andrey Rublev in the quarterfinals earlier on Wednesday, in what was a rematch of the 2020 US Open quarterfinals. The 25-year-old defeated his good friend 7-5, 6-3, 6-2, extending his winning streak to 19 matches.

Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Daniil Medvedev head-to-head

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Daniil Medvedev (R) and Stefanos Tsitsipas shake hands at the 2019 Monte Carlo Rolex Masters
Daniil Medvedev (R) and Stefanos Tsitsipas shake hands at the 2019 Monte Carlo Rolex Masters

This will be the sixth meeting between Stefanos Tsitsipas and Daniil Medvedev, with Medvedev currently leading the head-to-head 5-1.

Their rivalry goes back to early 2017, when the young duo were involved in a bizarre altercation after their match at the Indian Wells Masters. Tsitsipas allegedly made an inappropriate jibe at Medvedev during their handshake at the net, which greatly angered the Russian.

Here is a video clip of the infamous incident:

Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Daniil Medvedev prediction

Stefanos Tsitsipas has tweaked a few things in his game this week in Melbourne, mixing up his play more often on his backhand with slices and blocks. The Greek has also been impressive on return of serve when it has mattered.

In his quarterfinal match against Nadal, Tsitsipas won 40% and 33% of his return points in the fourth and fifth sets respectively.

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But the 22-year-old's numbers on return likely won't be as impressive against Daniil Medvedev, as the Russian has been racking up a lot of free points on his first serve lately. The World No. 4 was pushed a bit on his serve in his opening set against Andrey Rublev, but he cranked up the pace as the match wore on.

Daniil Medvedev hits a backhand
Daniil Medvedev hits a backhand

Medvedev won a mammoth 92% of his first serve points in the third set, firmly establishing his superiority in that department.

Tsitsipas has a terrific forehand, a stroke that will need to be at its best to counter Medvedev's flat hitting. But the Greek has struggled with his backhand down-the-line throughout the tournament, which might give Medvedev an edge in the longer exchanges.

The Russian has one of the best two-handed backhands in the world, while also boasting of a reliable return of serve. If Medvedev asserts himself in the baseline rallies right from the start, he would be the firm favorite against his younger opponent on Friday.

Prediction: Daniil Medvedev to win in four sets.

Published 17 Feb 2021, 21:16 IST
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