| By Long Island Tennis Magazine Staff
Rafael Nadal and Daniil Medvedev will meet for the Australian Open title on Sunday in a rematch of the 2019 U.S. Open final.
Photos courtesy of USTA

 

On Sunday, Rafael Nadal and Daniil Medvedev will square off for the 2022 Australian Open men’s singles title. It will be the fifth meeting between two, and the second time they will play one another for a major title.

The two met in the 2019 U.S. Open final, an epic, five-set thriller that saw Nadal claim his 19th major title.

“I am going to play again against one of the greatest, and against someone going for their 21st Grand Slam,” said Medvedev. “Grand Slam finals are special and I can remember the final against Rafa at the U.S. Open. It was my first final and we played for about five hours. We have played a few matches since then and I am ready.”

Their rematch was set up by two fairly routine victories by each in their respective semifinal matches on Friday. The sixth-seeded Nadal moved past seventh-seeded Italian Matteo Berrettini 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.

Nadal took advantage of a tight Berrettini, who came out of the gate slow and saw his serve get broken in his first service game. In all, Berrettini committed 38 unforced errors to Nadal’s 19.

“I started the match playing great. The first two sets were two of the best for a long time,” said Nadal. “I know how good Matteo is, he’s a very solid player, very dangerous. In the third I knew at some point he was going to go for his shots. We needed to suffer, we needed to fight, we fought again and that’s the only way to be where I am today. It means a lot to me to be in the final again here.”

In the second semifinal, the second-seeded Medvedev defeated fourth-seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece 7-6(5), 4-6, 6-4, 6-1. After Tsitsipas took the second set, Medvedev saved the only two break points he would face for the rest of the match, and took advantage of 17 unforced errors from Tsitsipas over the final two sets.

“Some matches are very even. I missed some balls at a few moments where I could have got a break and he missed a few at the start of the third set,” said Medvedev. “Then from 5-4 in the third, I just found some momentum and started to read his serve and put every ball in. I hit some very important passing shots and his energy went down because of this and my energy went up.”

Medvedev will be seeking his second straight major title, having won last year’s U.S. Open, while Nadal will be attempting to win a record-setting 21st major title.

“For me, it’s something completely unexpected, so I am super happy,” said Nadal. “I always try my best. My goal now is to win. [But] I am taking things in a little bit of a different way now. Of course, with the competitive spirit that I have, I can’t go against that. It’s my personal DNA. But in some ways, [just to] be able to have the chance to compete at this level, it’s positive energy for me to keep going, because being very honest, for me it is much more important to have the chance to play tennis than win number 21.”