Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev made a strong start to the 2021 season, winning the ATP Cup together and passing the first four obstacles at the Australian Open. In an all-Russian quarter-final clash, Medvedev ousted Rublev 7-5, 6-3, 6-2 in two hours and five minutes to advance into his first semi-final in Melbourne.
Daniil scored the 19th consecutive victory since the last year's Paris Masters and the eighth in a row against the rivals from the top-10, standing stronger under a boiling Melbourne sun to book a place in the last four in straight sets.
Daniil lost serve once and earned five return games to control the action, especially in sets two and three. Medvedev had 30 winners and 33 unforced errors, while Rublev failed to match those numbers after not feeling 100% physically.
The younger Russian served at only 47% and lost the edge in the shortest and most extended rallies to propel Daniil into the last four. Medvedev grabbed two breaks in the opening set and tamed his strokes more efficiently to prevail before the tie break.
In the fourth game, Rublev saved a break point when Medvedev sprayed a forehand error and held to level the score at 2-2. The older Russian forced a mistake from his compatriot in the sixth game to open a 4-2 lead before hitting a double fault in the next one to keep Andrey on the positive side.
Both players served well in the next four games, and Rublev served for staying in the set at 5-6. Medvedev claimed all four points on the return to grab a late break in style and take the set 7-5 after 46 minutes.
Daniil Medvedev will play in his first Australian Open semi-final.
The returners claimed only five points in the second set's opening five service games before Andrey saved a break chance with an ace and held with an unreturned serve for 3-3.
It was Medvedev's turn to experience a challenging service game a few minutes later, fending off three break points to remain 4-3 in front and gain momentum. Struggling physically, Rublev played a loose forehand in the eighth game to get broken and push the opponent 5-3 in front before Daniil held at love in game nine for a 7-5, 6-3 advantage after an hour and 28 minutes.
Medvedev scored a break in the third set's first game with another injection of pace and painted an ace to confirm it. With nothing working his way, Andrey sprayed a backhand error to find himself 3-0 down and see clear writing on Rod Laver Arena's wall.
The ATP Finals champion grabbed the fourth game with a forehand winner and opened a 5-1 gap with a hold at love. Andrey claimed the seventh game while knowing it was his last service game of the match, as Daniil brought the next game home with a forehand winner to advance into his first Australian Open semi-final.