After Novak Djokovic was deported from Australia, it was Alexander Zverev who was called Daniil Medvedev’s main competitor for the Grand Slam title. Rafael Nadal was carefully kept out of brackets. It’s just that no one knew how the Spaniard returned to the court after missing half of last season. And then, the Australian Open is not the most crowning tournament for Rafa. But Zverev sensationally flew out due to the efforts of Canadian Denis Shapovalov. MK-Sport talks about the latest news from Melbourne.
German Alexander Zverev was considered the main favorite of the Australian Open-2022 after the deportation of Novak Djokovic from Melbourne. He was given even more chances than the second racket of the world Daniil Medvedev and Rafael Nadal , who returned after missing half of the season .
At the end of last season, Sasha got in crazy shape, won the Olympic Games in Tokyo and the Final Tournament in Turin and gave no reason to doubt himself. He really wanted to win the title at TBSH for the first time in his career and grab the chance to become the first racket of the world in the near future, preventing Dana from rising to this position. But in the fourth round match with Denis Shapovalov something inexplicable happened: he could not win a single set against the Canadian.
“This is probably one of the worst matches I’ve played since Wimbledon. I was terrible. I played badly all week, although I came with the goal of winning and, possibly, becoming the first in the world. But if I play like this, then I don’t deserve it. It is foolish to discuss the further struggle for the first line after such a match. First, I have to understand myself,” Zverev said after the match.
Alexander really was unlike himself. It was difficult to judge by previous games – not the most formidable opponents came across to the German in the first three matches. But Shapovalov turned out to be an insurmountable obstacle for Zverev. “Sasha seemed not to be on the court. He didn’t show his best game and didn’t look emotionally charged. But I’m really impressed with Shapovalov’s attitude to the matter, ”said the ex-first racket of the world Mats Wilander.
Now Shapovalov will have to pass the test of Nadal.
Will there be a final between Nadal and Medvedev?
In fact, anything can happen in the quarterfinal match between Rafa and Denis. Yes, as long as Nadal shows during the tournament that his problems are behind him. In general, he is too experienced and takes himself too seriously to return to the Tour at the risk of screwing up. In the end, he has already proved everything to everyone, and, unlike Novak Djokovic, he is not chasing records (or, at least, he will never admit it). But Shapovalov is young (he is only 22 years old) and strong, which was proved by the match with Zverev.
“Everyone knows that he is potentially one of the strongest on the Tour. When I played against him in 2017 in Canada, it was a tough match. Then I said that he could become the winner of several Grand Slam tournaments. And I still think so. He is able to progress further,” Rafa said about his future opponent.
But if experience and class win in the quarterfinals, then Rafa and Danya will become even closer to each other.
Daniil Medvedev has a game with American Maxim Cressy in the fourth round , in which the Russian will be the reinforced concrete favorite. Well, there will be no more easy walks: either Marin Cilic , who knocked out Andrei Rublev , or the young and daring Canadian Auger-Aliassime .
Either Yannick Sinner or Stefanos Tsitsipas is expected in the semi-finals – and both are not a gift. But according to Medvedev himself, he is also lucky: “In the match with Botik van de Zandschulp , there were many small moments that could turn in both directions, but they all turned to me in front, so to speak. That’s why it all turned out this way and this is the final result,” Danya said about the victory in the third round over the Dutchman in three sets.
But if Rafa and Danya meet in the Australian Slam final, it will surely be a match that could go down in history. They have already given us two others – the final of the US Open-2019, in which young Medvedev fought back from 0:2 in sets, and the match of the Final Tournament of the same year, when Daniil led 5:1 in the decisive game, and then crumbled and lost everything.
In total, they have four personal meetings, and only one victory for Medvedev. It happened when they met for the last time at the Final Tournament 2020 in London. His Medvedev then won.
The last of the Russians
Actually, we have no one else to rely on except Medvedev. Aslan Karatsev and Karen Khachanov were eliminated on Friday, while Andrey Rublev lost on Saturday in the third round to experienced Croatian Marin Cilic. And it was also a mini-sensation.
“The unexpected defeat of Rublev, everyone expected more from him, and he himself could have achieved more. The defeat from Cilic is a sensation. When the sixth racket of the world loses to a player who has not been in the leading positions for a long time … ”, Yevgeny Kafelnikov told RIA Novosti.
And Wilander believes that Rublev is still missing something: “Probably, there is not enough competent defensive play and the second serve. But, it seems to me, Rublev is a level below Zverev and Medvedev.”
Rublev still has many chances to prove that all skeptics are wrong and he is capable of achieving great success on the court. And now the recently transferred coronavirus has just affected.
Meanwhile, in the women’s grid, we have no one left at all. In the third round, Daria Kasatkina lost to Iga Shventek , and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, unexpectedly, to Romanian Sorana Kirsta .
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