Daniil Medvedev said that he was inspired by Novak Djokovic during his epic comeback win over Felix Auger-Aliassime at the Australian Open.
The Russian saved a match point in the fourth set before prevailing 6-7, (4), 3-6, 7-6 (2), 7-5, 6-4 in the quarterfinals.
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When asked how he found the strength to fight back from two sets down against a rampaging Auger-Aliassime, Medvedev came up with a surprising answer.
“I don’t really know what to do, so I was like, actually, ‘I don’t know if people are going to like it but I told myself: ‘what Novak would do?’” he told Jim Courier during the on-court interview.
Medvedev’s comment was met with boos from a section of the crowd.
But the Russian tried to clear the air saying that he had taken inspiration from the way Djokovic, or even rivals Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, fought till the end.
Medvedev, 25, is aiming to go one step further than last year when he lost the final to Djokovic.
US Open champion Medvedev has taken over the mantle of favourite for the men’s singles, but played far from his best in the opening two sets against Auger-Aliassime.
Canda’s Auger-Aliassime, aged 21, also held at match point at 5-4 in the fourth set on Medvedev’s serve.
The Russian also saved two break points in the last game before finally sealing victory when Auger-Aliassime hit long.
Medvedev raised his arms to the air while running backwards to the net, having clinched a memorable win after four hours 42 minutes at almost 12:30am local time.
“I managed to raise my level and when they closed the roof I was able to go through momentum and I started playing better,” he added.
The 25-year-old will take on Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas in the semifinal.
Fourth seed Tsitsipas, who earned a dominant straight-set win over Jannik Sinner, was beaten by Medvedev in last year’s Australian Open semifinal.