Novak Djokovic booked his place within the Astana Open ultimate in Kazakhstan the place he’ll face Stefanos Tsitsipas after Daniil Medvedev retired injured with the semi-final stage at one set apiece 4-6 7-6 (8-6).
Having gained the opening set 6-4, Russia’s Medvedev carved out match level within the second set, solely to go on to lose it in a tie-break to Djokovic.
Medvedev then surprisingly retired injured from the conflict earlier than the third set might start, permitting Djokovic to progress to the ultimate.
“He [Medvedev] advised me he pulled an adductor in his leg,” Djokovic mentioned in his on-court interview.
“I do know Daniil, he is an ideal man, he is a fighter, he is an enormous competitor. He would not retire a match if he did not really feel that he [could] proceed or [if it wouldn’t] worsen his damage.
“It was such a detailed match, significantly within the second set. I’d most likely say he was a greater participant on the court docket in each units. I used to be preventing and looking for a means.
“I discovered a solution to win the second, however I am simply unhappy for the match and for these individuals who have been having fun with the battle, and for Daniil that it needed to finish this manner.”
Djokovic will now purpose to seal back-to-back titles in Sunday’s ultimate towards Tsitsipas, who was a 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 winner towards Andrey Rublev. The Serbian, who lifted his 89th tour-level crown in Tel Aviv final week, leads Tsitsipas 7-2 of their ATP head-to-heads.
“It is the second time in my life I retired like this with a pulled muscle,” Medvedev defined. “So right here, on the second level of the tie-break, I felt slightly unusual pop in my adductor. I first thought perhaps it is a cramp and after the purpose I used to be like: ‘No, most likely not a cramp.’
“And through the tie-break, I felt I can play like 5, 10 extra factors however that is it. If I play yet another set, you are able to do it, however you’ll be able to most likely miss half a yr as an alternative of 1 month.”
The battle between the second and fourth seeds noticed three consecutive breaks of serve within the first set, two of them belonging to Medvedev, who transformed his solely two break alternatives. Serving at 5-4 he raced out to 40/0 and took the set on his second alternative.
There have been no breaks of serve within the second set and so it got here right down to a tie-break. Medvedev gained the primary level, then Djokovic employed the drop shot on 4 consecutive factors – and gained all of them. In the end, he gained the tie-break on yet one more drop shot when Medvedev’s forehand lob sailed lengthy.
The match was Djokovic and Medvedev’s first assembly of 2022 – and solely the second occasion the place they have been in the identical draw, after Roland Garros.
It was additionally Djokovic’s first match towards a prime 10 participant on a tough court docket because the 2021 Nitto ATP Finals, the place he fell to Alexander Zverev within the semi-finals. Medvedev, in the meantime, was searching for his first indoor hard-court ultimate since that very same occasion.