Daniil Medvedev saw off Stefanos Tsitsipas and a hostile crowd to set up an Australian Open final showdown with Novak Djokovic on Sunday.
The world No.1 had predicted the in-form Russian would reach his second Grand Slam final by beating the Greek.
And the world No.4 showed he is a real threat to Djokovic’s bid to win an 18th Grand Slam title by out-classing Rafa Nadal’s conqueror 6-4 6-2 7-5.
Medvedev has now won 20 consecutive matches starting with his victory at the Paris Masters in November.
Melbourne has a large Greek community and a flag-waving, pro-Greek crowd gave Tsitsipas strong backing – and British umpire James Keothavong had to keep them under control.
Large sections of the crowd cheered when Medvedev served his first double fault on his first set point – and then booed when the Russian sealed the first set with a service winner.
But a vocal New York crowd inspired Medvedev to reach his first Grand Slam final at the 2019 US Open final
Tsitsipas then received a soft warning from Keothavong at the changeover after losing his serve at the start of the second set when he threw a full water bottle to the floor in frustration – and ball boys and girls had to dry the court with towels.
Medvedev had quietly complained to the umpire to reignite their simmering feud which dates back to their first meeting in Miami in 2018. Medvedev was infuriated by Tsitispas’ mid-match toilet break and his failure to apologise after a new cord. The two traded insults after the post-match handshake with the Greek branding his opponent a “bull**** Russian”.
The world No.6 came back from two sets down to shock Nadal in the quarters finals and threatened another comeback when he broke the fearsome Medvedev for the first time in the third set to level up at 3-3.
But the Russian produced an outrageous backhand pass down the line to break to lead 6-5 and he took his first match point after a 208kmh second serve and a backhand winner.
It is the third time Tsitispas has lost a Grand Slam final after losing to Rafa Nadal in Melbourne in 2019 and the French Open semi to Djokovic last year.
Djokovic had praised Tsitispas’ defeat of Nadal in the quarters but added: “Speaking of a high level, Medvedev is the guy. He probably plays at the highest level in the last three or four months.”
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