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Rafael Nadal and Daniil Medvedev chase history at Australian Open | Tennis News – Times of India

Daniil Medvedev’s first taste of going up against Rafael Nadal was as an eight-year-old. When hitting against the wall of a Moscow club as a child, Medvedev imagined he was playing Nadal.
In the Australian Open final on Sunday – with history on the line – the 25-year-old Russian will strive to keep it all together, when he takes on the legendary Spaniard. Medvedev knows the ball will come back.
Nadal’s biggest strength isn’t that heavy, lefty forehand or the ability to outwait, unruffled and unbent, but that he’s the sport’s ultimate competitor by instinct. It’s what puts the shine to his smile.
While that’ll be the spirit of the final, the craft the two men bring to the stage could well be what decides it.
Nadal’s more aggressive stance since teaming with the former world No.1 Carlos Moya has given his play a knife-like sharpness. In their five years together Nadal has won six Grand Slams, making two finals at Melbourne Park, Sunday will be the third.

The Spaniard, whose court positioning this fortnight has been judicious, took it to Matteo Berrettini in the semifinals, returning serve from just behind the baseline before stepping in and pounding a barrage of forehands that negated his opponent’s strength. Cancel culture.
Nadal reversed that to break the Italian in the fourth set, forcing Berrettini to come up with the shots on the forehand side when under pressure.
“It’s about creating some doubts in the opponent,” Nadal said, insisting the final was about the Australian Open and not No.21.
Medvedev, who in the last two years has emerged as the front runner of his generation, will take his own brand of expertise and experience into the title match at Melbourne Park.
“It’s really tough to get to the final and I always have them there, waiting for me,” Medvedev said of tennis’ trinity, who’re tied at 20 Grand Slams apiece. “What I take of the three finals that I had before is that you have to do better than 100 percent in order to win. That’s what I managed to do in the US Open.”

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Medvedev, looking to become the first man to back up his first Grand Slam title with a second on the next opportunity, will take no baggage into the title match. What pressure? His bony shoulders shot up in a question.
“I know what I’m capable of when I’m playing well. I know that I can beat anybody,” he said, recalling his US Open triumph. “I know that I’m capable of winning seven matches in a row, the last match against Novak was an epic.”
The Russian drew a zero when asked about his relationship with No.21.
“It’s not me going for the 21st,” he explained. “I know what’s happening, I know what Rafa is going for, I knew what Novak was going for. But it’s kind of their thing, not mine.”
His plan is to be the last man standing on Sunday and the first to deliver a unique record. One that’s pegged to competitive maturity.

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