Most of the hype has been around red-hot Daniil Medvedev, but fellow Russian Andrey Rublev will also take imposing recent form into their Australian Open quarter-final showdown on Wednesday.
So long a global powerhouse in women’s tennis, it is the Russian men creating tennis history right now.
Medvedev and Rublev assumed singles duty in Russia’s ATP Cup triumph earlier this month and they have carried that form into the year’s first major.
Fourth seed Medvedev is riding an 18-match winning streak dating back to early November that includes prestigious titles at the ATP Finals and the Paris Masters 1000.
For his part, the seventh-seeded Rublev has yet to taste defeat in eight matches this year, including four successive straight-sets wins at the Open.
Medvedev emerged triumphant from the most recent encounter between the pair at last year’s US Open, but the 23-year-old Rublev isn’t getting hung up on that 7-6 (8-6) 6-3 7-6 (7-5) loss.
“I take a lesson from that match, but now it’s going to be a new story, new match, we’ll see how it’s going to be,” said Rublev.
“We’ll see how I will feel, we’ll see how Daniil will feel because we need to face each other to understand the situation.
“Of course he knows my game, I know his game.
“But in the end you still need to face each other to see the reality, to see the atmosphere, to see how the things are working or not working, how you’re feeling, and then you adapt.”
Medvedev insisted he and Rublev would have no trouble putting their friendship to one side while they each tried to advance to the semis at Melbourne Park for the first time.
“If you can win 6-0 6-0 6-0, you’re going to take it,” he said.
“You’re not going to give two games at the end to say ‘he’s my close friend, so I’m going to give him two games’.
“And if you have to win 7-6 in the fifth, you’re going to try to make it.
“The same for him.
“Unless there’s a huge fight during the match, which I doubt, one of us is going to say congrats to another one.
“We’ll be disappointed with the result, but we’ll move on and have many more matches to come.”
Medvedev has yet to drop a set in his three previous clashes with Rublev.