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"It is Novak Djokovic who has all the pressure"- Daniil Medvedev ahead of Australian Open final

Novak Djokovic and Danii Medvedev
Novak Djokovic and Danii Medvedev
Modified 19 Feb 2021

Daniil Medvedev believes all the pressure will be on eight-time champion Novak Djokovic when the pair clash in Sunday's final at the Australian Open.

Medvedev won his 20th successive match on Friday as he defeated Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 6-2, 7-5 to advance to his second career Grand Slam final. In his only previous Grand Slam final, at the 2019 US Open, the Russian was beaten by Rafael Nadal in a close five-setter.

While Daniil Medvedev will be aiming to lift his first Major title on Sunday, Novak Djokovic will be gunning for his 18th. A win on Sunday would also move Djokovic to within two Grand Slam titles of the all-time record in men's tennis - 20, currently held by Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal together.

Medvedev pointed to that aspect while talking about his upcoming match against Djokovic, and also referred to the Serb's flawless record in Australian Open finals.

"I like that I don’t have a lot of pressure because he never lost in the eight times that he was here in the final," Medvedev said. "It is he who has all the pressure, getting to Roger and Rafa in the Grand Slam [leaderboard]. I just hope that I am going to get out there and show my best tennis."

Daniil Medvedev's unbeaten streak of 20 matches includes 12 wins over top 10 players and three big titles, including the season-ending Nitto ATP Finals. The Russian has beaten all but one member of the current top 10 over the last couple of months; the only exception is Roger Federer, who has not competed since last January.

When asked about the reasons behind his recent success, Medvedev claimed he couldn't pin it down to a single factor. He did, however, express delight that the hard work he has put in over the years is finally paying dividends.

"I don’t have an answer [to explain my run]," Daniil Medvedev said. "I was just working hard all my life and I am really happy at this moment. It is going to stay with me… It is a great achievement."

"As soon as I saw that (he was tired) in the first set, that became my strategy straight away" - Daniil Medvedev

Daniil Medvedev
Daniil Medvedev

During Friday's semifinal against Stefanos Tsitsipas, Daniil Medvedev looked in sublime form for the first two sets. The Greek did fight back in the third set, sparking hopes of a comeback like the one he scripted in the previous round against Rafael Nadal, but Medvedev managed to hold his nerve and complete a 6-4, 6-2, 7-5 win.

The Russian later revealed that he noticed how tired Tsitsipas looked during the first set of the match, and he used that as a strategy to overcome the 22-year-old.

"It is the semi-final of a Slam… It was not easy, but I am happy I managed to switch my game on, especially in some tight moments on my serve and I am really happy to be in the final," Daniil Medvedev said. "He was tired after the match with Rafa… During today’s match, I saw that as soon as I was moving him around the court, it was not easy for him. As soon as I saw that in the first set, that became my strategy straight away."
Published 19 Feb 2021, 18:36 IST
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