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Medvedev saves match point to edge out Auger-Aliassime in thriller


D

aniil Medvedev looked every part the successor to tennis’ big three as he recovered from two sets down and a match point against him to defeat Felix Auger-Aliassime in a contest awash with brilliance throughout.

There were echoes of all three in the Medvedev game: the fight of Rafael Nadal, the court coverage of Novak Djokovic and the shot making of Roger Federer.

Quite what impact the result and his great escape will have on both his Australian Open ambitions and career as a whole remains to be seen, so too Auger-Aliassime, who one hopes is helped rather than hindered when he looks back on the match having pushed his rival so close.

Medvedev, tournament favourite from the moment Djokovic was sent packing by the Australian authorities, came agonisingly close to a three-set whitewash against his 21-year-old opponent, who produced arguably the best tennis of his nascent career.

The US Open champion’s shot making was off-kilter and he was irritated by the crowd’s lack of support, not the first time at this year’s tournament.

It was a match that had everything from Auger-Aliassime’s gravity-defying overhead smashes to Medvedev’s ability to stay in the point when the cause looked lost.

That the 6-7, 3-6, 7-6, 7-5, 6-4 result should go against the Canadian seemed unduly harsh in a match in which the pair were barely separated by a point here and there.

There have been questions asked of his temperament having played and lost eight ATP finals. And under immense pressure in this Melbourne quarter-final, he again could not quite make it over the line.

And yet there are all the indicators from this performance against a player, who in all likelihood could lift the title come Sunday, that he has the game for the biggest of stages.

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