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By Richard Pagliaro | @Tennis_Now | Thursday, January 18, 2024


Daniil Medvedev fought off Emil Ruusuvuori 3-6, 6-7(1), 6-4, 7-6(1), 6-0 in a four hour, 23-minute AO epic that ended at 3:40 a.m. local time.

Photo credit: Kelly Defina/Getty

An electrifying late-night journey escalated into early morning.

Before sunrise, Daniil Medvedev finally found the light.

More: Brave Blinkova Saves 6 Match Points In Longest Slam Singles Tiebreaker

Facing at two-set deficit, a defiant Medvedev fought off Emil Ruusuvuori 3-6, 6-7(1), 6-4, 7-6(1), 6-0 in a four hour, 23-minute Australian Open epic that started at 11:15 p.m. on Thursday night and ended at 3:40 a.m. Melbourne time Friday morning.

It was Medvedev’s third career comeback from two sets down as he raised his five-set record to 5-10.

It wasn’t easy.

It wasn’t pretty—Medvedev was barking at his box for stretches, took a medical timeout to treat a blister before the second set started and flung his racquet like a bowling ball knocking over his water bottles at one point—but it sure was gritty and a whole lot of fun to watch.

In the end, a relieved Medvedev saluted the die-hard fans who stayed the duration telling them “guys, you are strong, strong!”

“Tough, tough, tough; I think the only two matches I won from two sets to love down was here on this court so that’s a good memory for sure,” Medvedev told Nick Monroe in his on-court interview. “I remember my first was also on this court.

“This one is for sure going to stay in my memory. Honestly guys, I would not be here thanks for staying. If I was a tennis fan and I would come I would be like at 1 [a.m.] let’s go home and let’s catch the end of the match on the TV. We gonna watch 30 minutes then go to bed.

“Thanks guys you are strong, strong!”

Reeling in a deep two-set deficit tonight, devoted gamer Medvedev did not press the panic button against the world No. 53 as he improved to 23-7 in Melbourne.

After outplaying the two-time Australian Open finalist for nearly two-and-a-half sets, Ruusuvuori ran out of gas in a lopsided final set.

It was a pity after battling so hard for so long, Ruusuvuori dropped to an ignominious 0-8 lifetime in Grand Slam second-rounders.

Despite the AO’s efforts to diminish late night/early morning finishes, this frenetic finish was due to a series of epic endings on Rod Laver Arena.

No. 1 Iga Swiatek stormed back from 1-4 down in the final set fending off 2022 finalist Danielle Collins in a three-hour, 14-minute victory that was a prelude of the drama to follow on Rod Laver Arena.

Medvedev said he warmed up a few times as Anna Blinkova fought off six match points before converting her 10th match point stunning third-seeded Elena Rybakina 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(20) in an epic and exhilarating Australian Open second-round upset climaxing with the longest singles tiebreaker in Grand Slam history.

Tennis Express

By the time the dust settled from Blinkova’s battle, it was 11:15 p.m. local time when Ruusuvuori and Medvedev walked out onto Laver Arena, which was still buzzing from Blinkova's historic win.

“Very tough because the toughest was the tiebreaker where women played like a 35 minute tiebreak,” Medvedev said. “The thing with tennis is you never know when you have to hit, when you have to warm up…”

Playing the waiting game was draining for Medvedev and a springboard for Ruusuvuori, who broke Medvedev in his opening service games of the first and second sets building a two-set lead.

“When I went on court I was little bit exhausted already,” Medvedev said. “It’s not easy, but he was better prepared in the beginning but I’m happy I managed to stay tough even if it was very tough and I’m happy to win.

The Finnish former junior No. 4 held to force the second-set tiebreaker, but Medvedev popped the tension pausing play to request a medical timeout right before the breaker began.

Taking treatment for an apparent blister on his left foot gave Medvedev time to regroup and Ruusuvuori time to reflect on how close he stood to a two-set lead.

The Fin was not fazed.

Ruusuvuori carved out a clever forehand drop volley winner for a 4-0 tiebreaker lead he extended to 5-0 on a Medvedev error.

Planting a drive that skidded off the baseline handcuffing the former finalist to snatch a two-set lead after two hours, five minutes.

In dire straits, Medvedev caught a break when the Fin double-faulted the break ceding a 2-1 third-set lead.

Serving at 4-3 in the fourth set, Medvedev was running out of ideas on how to break down his opponent. Medvedev tried the drop shot-lob combination, but the Fin flew for a high backhand volley and drew the error, breaking back after eight games.

An irate Medvedev turned and screamed at his box, raging at his predicament.

Attacking in the ensuing game, Medvedev saw Ruusuvuori rip a clean forehand pass down the line holding for 5-4.

The frustrated Medvedev turned and fired his Tecnifibre racquet at his court-side seat scattering three water bottles like bowling pins in his wake as the clock crept within 10 minutes of 3 a.m.

Venting seemed to help the Russian recommit.

Serving at 4-5, deuce, Medvedev was teetering two points away from elimination and he responded with stinging serves.

In the fourth-set tiebreaker, Medvedev mashed his 19th ace then flattened a forehand winner for a 3-0 lead he quickly extended to 5-1.

Ruusuvuori scattered another error as Medvedev walked to his court-side seat forcing a fifth set after three hours, 53 minutes of play with the Rolex clock showing 3:10 a.m.

Perhaps ruing the lost opportunity, Ruusuvuori double faulted and spit up three forehand errors gift-wrapping the break and a 2-0 final-set lead to Medvedev.

By then, Medvedev was in cruise control. Sweeping a forehand drive volley winner, Medvedev won eight of 11 points stretching his lead to 3-0.

At the end of the game, Ruusuvuori took a medical timeout for treatment of his sore serving shoulder.

That was temporary reprieve as Medvedev rolled through 14 of the last 17 points to charge into the AO third round for the sixth straight year.

Highly-strung in the first two sets, Medvedev credited the right string job for sparking his comeback.

“The first set I was missing too much,” Medvedev said. “I was missing all over the place then I did like 55 racquets to change the tension and finally found one where I felt I was playing better.

“Sometimes it's just something you create in your mind. I stayed with this racquet. I took it in the beginning of the third set and stayed with it until the end of the match.”

After long night's journey into day, Medvedev said he hoped to get to bed by 6:30 a.m. and rest up for what could be another marathon match against No. 27-seeded Felix Auger-Aliassime.

Though Medvedev is 6-0 lifetime vs. the 23-year-old Canadian, Auger-Aliassime is obviously more well rested.

Remember, Auger-Aliassime held match points against the Russian in the 2022 AO quarterfinals before Medvedev pulled off a massive 6-7(4), 3-6, 7-6(2), 7-5, 6-4 comeback.


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