Daniil Medvedev sets up Novak Djokovic clash in Astana: ‘I am really happy to play against Novak’

Shahida Jacobs
Daniil Medvedev and Novak Djokovic hugging

Daniil Medvedev and Novak Djokovic will meet in the semi-final of the Astana Open after both claimed straight set wins, although the latter feels he needs to elevate his level ahead of Saturday’s clash.

21-time Grand Slam winner Djokovic was first to book his place in the last four of the ATP 500 event as he secured his 14th consecutive win with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Karen Khachanov in one hour and 28 minutes.

The fourth seed opened a 3-0 lead in the opening set after breaking in game two, but Khachanov got back on terms with a break in game seven only for Djokovic to claim the crucial break in game 10.

A solitary break in game four of the second set earned the former world No 1 the win over the Russian, but he was not too happy with his overall performance.

“I didn’t play as well from the baseline as I did in the first two matches, but still it was enough,” Djokovic, who is looking to win a third tournament in a row following his titles at Wimbledon in July and Tel Aviv last week, said. “I managed to produce some good tennis when it was the most needed in both sets.”

He added: “I always expect the highest [level] from myself and hopefully I can still elevate my level for tomorrow because it’s going to be needed obviously whoever I play against.”

Up next is second seed Medvedev after the fourth seed made quick work of Roberto Bautista, winning 6-1, 6-1 in just over an hour.

Medvedev and Djokovic have played each other 10 times at the top level and the latter leads the head-to-head 4-6 while he also won their most recent encounter 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 in the Paris Masters final last November, but the Russian did claim a clinical 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 win in the US Open final before that.

“I am really happy to play against Novak,” the 2021 US Open, whose only title this year came at the Los Cabos Open in August, winner said.

“I thought about it before the match and we have only played one tournament together this year, which was Roland Garros. This is the second one and we meet again and I am really happy.”

Third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas and fifth seed Andrey Rublev will go head-to-head in the other semi-final.

Greek Tsitsipas defeated Hubert Hurkacz 7-6 (10-8), 6-3 while Rublev was a 6-1, 6-2 winner over Adrian Mannarino.

“He strikes the ball very hard,” Tsitsipas said of Rublev. But I’m going to concentrate on my game. I’m going to be well prepared and visualise it before.”

Tsitsipas is looking to win his third title of the season after the Monte Carlo Masters and Mallorca Championships while Rublev is in search of a fourth trophy in 2022 having won the Open 13, Dubai Tennis Championships and Serbia Open.

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