Daniil Medvedev has laid a marker down at the US Open after storming into the men's final in ruthless fashion against Canada's Felix Auger-Aliassime.
The Russian second seed booked his spot in the decider against the winner of Saturday's (AEST) other semi-final between Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev, courtesy of a 6-4 7-5 6-2 win.
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Medvedev overcame a second set wobble to clinically dispatch his 21-year-old opponent and set up a third appearance in a grand slam final.
The World No.2 found himself down 2-5 in the second set but dramatically turned the tables on Auger-Aliassime, who simply couldn't serve out the set and level the contest.
Twice, he was a point from taking the set. Twice, it didn't happen, most disconcerting when he missed what should have been a routine forehand volley, slapping it into the net.
A bad backhand ultimately gave away that game, then more mistakes - among them, a double-fault - contributed to Auger-Aliassime getting broken at love to trail 6-5.
Medvedev then held to cap a five-game run and claim a two-set lead. The match was 90 minutes old and, essentially, over.
The Russian was clinical in the third set where he only dropped two more games to brutally end Auger-Aliassime's incredible US Open run.
Wow, Daniil Medvedev was down 2-5 in the second set (after winning the first set 6-4) and won 11/13 games to win in straight sets over Felix Auger-Aliassime (6-4, 7-5, 6-2). #USOpen
— Kris Habbas (@Kris_Habbas) September 10, 2021
FAA went from set point to total meltdown wow. Medvedev probably has the best shot at Djokovic though... #USOpen
— Nathan Santo Domingo (@NSDwx) September 10, 2021
Felix is looking fly with the fresh fade but it looks like quick business for Medvedev tonight. Brutal speed of getting the job done.
— Bruce Daisley (@brucedaisley) September 10, 2021
— Have Bold Faith (@TinasTake) September 10, 2021
Medvedev is freaking ruthless, i don´t think FAA can play better than that but still loses second set 7-5.
— AE (@AEtennis_) September 10, 2021
Medvedev breaks again, and leads 6-5. The Russian was down 2-5 not too long ago. Wow
— Tanna (@tannaknowsball) September 10, 2021
As I said it would be tough for felix. Up 5-2 a game to win the set and he loses the set 7-5. Medvedev is insane. 6 foot 6 but he’s so fast and powerful. Serves are very very good. He plays about 4/5 metres behind the baseline as well which is incredible. Amazing player
— Ishaq (@Ishaq_UTD) September 10, 2021
Medvedev's warning to Djokovic ahead of US Open final
Medvedev was the runner-up to Djokovic at the Australian Open in February and to Rafael Nadal at Flushing Meadows in 2019.
This was Medvedev's third consecutive trip to the US Open semi-finals but he insisted after the match that he still has another gear to go to in New York.
"I don't think I played my best today," said Medvedev, who has only dropped one set so far through six matches over the past two weeks, "but I'm really happy to be in the final."
The 12th-seeded Auger-Aliassime is coached by Nadal's uncle, Toni, and was appearing in a major semi-final for the first time.
Maybe the magnitude of the occasion affected him. Surely, Medvedev's play did, too.
Auger-Aliassime finished with 39 unforced errors - including 10 double-faults, three in the opening game alone - and just 17 winners.
Compare that to Medvedev's numbers, built with behind-the-baseline court coverage and slick strokes: 37 winners, 25 unforced errors.
All in all, this match amounted to an opening act before the headliner: World No. 1 Djokovic against World No. 4 Zverev in the second semi-final.
Road Laver, the last man to complete a calendar year Grand Slam in 1969, was seated in the President's Box at Arthur Ashe Stadium for Friday's matches.
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