Tennis: Medvedev, Yastremska advance to the Australian Open semifinals

AP , Wednesday 24 Jan 2024

Daniil Medvedev outlasted ninth-seeded Hubert Hurkacz 7-6 (4), 2-6, 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 on Wednesday to reach the semifinals of the Australian Open for the third time in four years.

Dayana Yastremska of Ukraine serves to Linda Noskova of the Czech Republic during their quarterfinal match at the Australian Open tennis championships at Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia. Photo: AP

In a grueling four-hour match containing numerous rallies of 20-plus shots, Medvedev held off a comeback attempt from Hurkacz to advance.

Medvedev will meet either Wimbledon champion Carlos Alcaraz or Olympic gold medalist Alexander Zverev, who were playing later Wednesday, for a place in the final.

Medvedev, who won the 2021 U.S. Open and is a two-time finalist in Australia, appeared on course for a more straight-forward victory when he led 4-2 in the fourth set but Hurkacz raised his game to take it to a decider.

Medvedev took the decisive break in the seventh game of the fifth and held on for victory, capped with a drop shot.

“I’m so destroyed right now,” Medvedev, his hands clasped behind his head, said in his on-court interview. “I was feeling very tough physically in the send set already.”

The No. 3-ranked Medvedev has had a tough run in Melbourne, including a nearly 4 1/2-hour, five-set second-round match that finished close to 4 a.m. and when he admitted he was already thinking about the flight home.

The trip home entered his mind again against Hurkacz, when he resolved to throw out the game plan and do whatever he could to turn things around.

That included reverting to a risky serve-volley strategy on some points, and standing up near the baseline to receive serves — much closer than he usually does owing to his usual deep positioning.

Earlier, Dayana Yastremska reached her first Grand Slam women’s singles semifinal after beating Linda Noskova 6-3, 6-4.

The 93rd-ranked Ukrainian, who had to qualify for the main draw, wrapped up the victory in 78 minutes as she set up a match with either 12th-ranked Zheng Qinwen or Anna Kalinskaya in the last four.

The Ukrainian is only the second qualifier to reach the women’s singles semis at the Australian Open in the Open era, after Christine Storey in 1978.

“It’s nice to make history because at that time I was not born, I’m 2000,” she said. “I’m super-happy, very tired.”

Noskova beat top-ranked Iga Swiatek on her way to her first Slam quarterfinal and struck first, breaking for a 2-1 lead in the first set.

But Yastremska broke back immediately and from that moment on, Noskova was always playing catch up. The Ukrainian broke again to lead 5-2 and served out for the set. One break, in the seventh game of the second, was enough to seal victory.

“I’m really happy to be in my first semifinals,” she said. “I was a little bit nervous, but at the same time tired. I think I was a little bit too emotional. Today before my match I got angry at the practice (with) my coach. But that’s fine, because I could put my emotions away. Yeah, another step is done.”

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