Master-tactician Daniil Medvedev has handed Stefanos Tsitsipas another tennis lesson, dispatching the Greek in straight sets to line-up a tasty Australian Open final showdown with Novak Djokovic.
The Russian fourth seed continued his dominance over Tsitsipas, seemingly having the ball on a string for much of the night in a 6-4 6-2 7-5 victory on Rod Laver Arena.
The pair had something of a history, trading on-court insults back in 2018 and snipping on and off since but there was no obvious acrimony in the two hour and 12 minute demolition.
It extends Medvedev’s record against Tsitsipas to 6-1 and continues the 25-year-old Muscovite’s phenomenal 20-match unbeaten run on tour.
While world No.1 Djokovic will be a warm favourite to end that golden stretch as he seeks a ninth Norman Brookes Challenge Cup, the Serb is unlikely to hold any great fears for Medvedev who has won three of their last four encounters.
Tsitsipas looked a shadow of the heroic figure who beat Rafael Nadal in a quarter-final – just the second time the Spanish great had been trumped in a grand slam after winning the first two sets.
Heavy in the legs, Tstispas’s usually breezy allcourt game looked clunky as Medvedev picked him off with devastating passes, particularly off the backhand wing.
It took just one break to secure the first set in 41 minutes, Medvedev then dialling things up a notch in the second.
Medvedev dropped six aces with a stunning 84 per cent accuracy on serve during the set, Tsitsipas struggling on his own delivery to be broken twice.
Any thoughts of a Nadal-like comeback looked to be extinguished with an early break against Tsitsipas in the third but, inspired by an athletic overhead smash and a partisan crowd, the No.5 seed rose again.
A break back was as good as it got however, Medvedev peeling off an exquisite backhand down the line at 15-40 and 5-5 on Tsitsipas’s serve, before closing out the match.
“I got a little bit scared and tight because it’s the semi-final of a slam,” Medvedev admitted after the match.
“It was not easy but I was happy to turn my game on.”
Asked how he did it, he offered: “I just tried to hit aces and winners”.
It marks the second grand slam final for Medvedev who was trumped in five sets by Nadal in the 2019 US Open decider.