The look on Daniil Medvedev’s face said it all.
The Russian blitzed his way into the Australian Open final by thumping Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets on Friday night to set up a mouth-watering match-up with Novak Djokovic in the decider this weekend.
Medvedev was in control for all but a couple of shaky games in the third set as he powered towards a 6-4 6-2 7-5 victory that sets him up for a chance at winning his first grand slam title.
Both players headed into the match with some bad blood, having thrown jabs at each other the previous six times they’d played — and Medvedev was revelling in his brutal demolition job of the fifth seed.
After going down a break and 1-2 in the second set, Tsitsipas threw his water bottle on the ground in frustration at the change of ends, only for water to spray all over the court.
He received a soft verbal warning from the umpire and play was delayed while ballkids cleaned up the court — but Medvedev asked why the Greek star didn’t receive an official warning for his blow-up.
The way the world No. 4 cheekily inquired about his opponent’s behaviour was the definition of smug, as you can see from the gif below which spread quickly among tennis fans on social media.
🤨😏🤪 #Medvedev pic.twitter.com/AjAodvkrDS
The mind games kept coming from Medvedev as he crushed Tsitsipas’ spirit. He complained about the world No. 6’s dad Apostolos, accusing him of making too much noise from the stands.
“His father is talking way too much, man,” Medvedev told umpire James Keothavong.
Medvedev also took the opportunity in the changeover between the second and third sets to get inside Tsitsipas’ head. Leaving his chair before time was called, he jogged past and kicked his heels up high, showing how much energy he had left while his rival floundered, feeling the physical effects of a five-set marathon with Rafael Nadal in the quarter-finals.
He could have taken a different route, but instead Medvedev ran a metre in front of Tsitsipas, deliberately flaunting how much gas he had left in the tank to finish the job.
(@heliinabox @kelamiata) pic.twitter.com/Mu6Cvsx4Es
Tsitsipas was full of praise for Medvedev after the match but the one-sided affair added another chapter to their spicy rivalry, which started when they first played each other in Miami in 2018.
A war of words erupted at that first encounter, with the Greek star’s mid-match toilet break and lack of apology after benefiting from a net cord infuriating Medvedev.
Tsitsipas reportedly called his rival a “bulls*** Russian” who should “know your place”, sparking a furious response after the pair shook hands at the net.
“Man, you better shut the f*** up, OK?” Medvedev said.
“Hey Stefanos, do you want to look at me and talk? You go emergency toilet for five minutes during and then you hit (the net) and you don’t say sorry. You think you are a good kid? Look at me. Hey, look at me. You don’t look at me?”
Addressing the umpire, Medvedev continued: “He started it. He said ‘Bulls*** Russian’. Do you think this is normal? I answer him, because he doesn’t know how to fight. He’s a small kid who doesn’t know how to fight.”
The pair’s feud was reignited after their 2019 clash in Shanghai, when Tsitsipas lashed out at the Russian’s “boring” play, with his big serve and relentless baseline rallies.
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