There was an element of déjà vu in the air on Friday at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open, where Daniil Medevedev defeated Felix Auger-Aliassime in straight sets for the second week in a row to reach the final at the hard-court ATP 250. (Watch Medvedev v Murray Saturday 4pm CET/10am ET)
Seven days after Medvedev secured quarter-final victory against Auger-Aliassime in Rotterdam, the 27-year-old delivered another rock-solid performance to prevail 6-4, 7-6(7) in the Doha semi-finals. Auger-Aliassime ensured a closer contest this time around by reclaiming early breaks in both sets, but he could not match Medvedev’s consistency at crucial moments in the one-hour, 57-minute clash.
“Today and yesterday the matches were super close,” said Medvedev, when asked about the confidence gained from Friday’s win and his quarter-final victory against Christopher O’Connell. “Confidence matters, because [Auger-Aliassime] had [three] set points. I managed to just stay in there and it was enough to win, but a very high-level match. Two hours for two sets.”
Medvedev saved three set points in the second-set tie-break before converting his first match point to complete a win in which he won 77 per cent (37/48) of points behind his first serve. He also struck just eight unforced errors across the two sets, compared to 26 for the second-seeded Auger-Aliassime.
The win improved Medvedev’s ATP Head2Head series lead against the Canadian to 6-0. The third seed is now on an eight-match winning streak, having gone on to lift his 16th tour-level title in the Netherlands last weekend.
Medvedev raised his #ShotQuality scores, especially on the Forehand, to make the final for the second week in a row.
Faces Andy Murray in the final tomorrow; who are you backing to bring home the 🏆?#TennisInsights | @atptour | #QEMO2023 pic.twitter.com/AmOM3BxhVg
— Tennis Insights (@tennis_insights) February 24, 2023
Medvedev’s opponent in Saturday’s championship match in Doha will be Andy Murray, after the former World No. 1 saved five match points before downing Jiri Lehecka 6-0, 3-6, 7-6(6) in dramatic fashion earlier on Friday.
“It’s unbelievable [what Murray has done this week],” said Medvedev, who holds a 2-0 ATP Head2Head series lead against the Briton. “As soon as someone arrives at match point, that’s where the match starts. So I have to be at my best from the first to the last point tomorrow to try to beat him.
“He’s a legend. He’s playing better and better, I feel like, not only here but in general. This is amazing to see. He’s fighting. Today was just unbelievable, the way he won, so I’m really happy to face him tomorrow.”