Djokovic heading to Astana final after Medvedev abandonment
Novak Djokovic advanced to Saturday’s final match at the Astana Open after Daniil Medvedev pulled out of the duos semi-final at the end of a dramatic second-set tie-break due to a leg injury.
Medvedev’s shock retirement came moments after Djokovic netted a dramatic tie-break to tie the game at 4-6, 7-6(6).
“I really hope his injury isn’t too serious. I know Daniil, he’s a great guy, he’s a fighter, he’s a great competitor. He wouldn’t give up a game if he didn’t. did not feel that he [could] continue or [if it wouldn’t] aggravate his injury. He told me he pulled an adductor muscle in his leg,” Djokovic said as quoted by ATP.com.
“It was such a close game, especially in the second set. I would probably say he was a better player on the court in both sets. I was fighting and trying to find a way. I found a way to win the second, but I’m just sad for the tournament and for those people who were enjoying the battle, and for Daniil that it had to end this way,” he added.
Djokovic will now aim to seal back-to-back titles in Sunday’s final against Stefanos Tsitsipas, a 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 winner over Andrey Rublev. The Serb, who won his 89th crown at the tour level in Tel Aviv last week.
“We played a lot of drop shots once the balls got really big and fluffy and I couldn’t really penetrate it,” Djokovic said.
“He’s like a wall. I myself have been in these shoes all my career, that players thought they couldn’t pass me a ball, but now I [know] what it feels like when someone who really doesn’t make mistakes is on the other side of the net. He just makes you work really hard for every point,” he said.
The second set ended in a tie-break as there was no break in service. The first point was won by Medvedev. After that, Djokovic used the soft shot on four consecutive points and won them all. Finally, when Medvedev’s forehand lob went long, he prevailed in the tiebreak with another bunt.
“The conditions here are playing a little slower, in fact a lot slower than last week in Israel where I played, so I had to adapt and against a player like Daniil you’re just not going to get a lot of free points. In fact, maybe none. So you just have to work your way up all the time. The tie-break was super exciting and the house was on fire here in the stadium,” he added. .