Daniil Medvedev will play for a first Grand Slam title after grinding out a 7-6(5), 6-4, 6-3 win over Grigor Dimitrov in their U.S. Open semi-final on Friday.
Medvedev has had a complicated relationship with the Flushing Meadows crowds, who cast him as a U.S. Open bad boy following some on-court antics, but the fifth-seeded+++ Russian has been as good as gold where it matters -- on the scoreboard.
The win sends Medvedev through to his fourth straight final and stretches his win streak to 12 matches.
The first Russian man to reach a Grand Slam final since Marat Safin at the 2005 Australian Open, Medvedev now awaits the winner of the other semi-final between three-time champion Rafa Nadal and surprise package Matteo Berrettini of Italy.
The two players arrived at Flushing Meadows in wildly contrasting form.
The 78th ranked Dimitrov`s play was trending downwards, winning just one of his last eight matches, while Medvedev was riding the momentum from reaching three straight finals, including a win in his last U.S. Open tuneup in Cincinnati.
With both men fighting for a spot in their first Grand Slam final, every point was contested as if a trophy were riding on it, particularly in a tense opening set that stretched to an hour before Medvedev snatched it in a tie-break.
The second set produced more long, grinding rallies as the Russian and Bulgarian traded a pair of breaks before Medvedev landed the decisive blow to break Dimitrov and go 2-1 up.
Now in command, Medvedev continued to relentlessly wear down the tiring Dimitrov in a third set that saw him earn a break at 3-1 to take a lead he would not surrender.