MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — As tough as it was to stomach for Daniil Medvedev to blow a two-set lead and lose another Australian Open final, he put a positive spin on his grueling run at the season-opening major.
Medvedev dominated the first two sets against first-time finalist Jannik Sinner on Sunday night before his quick-points gameplan started to unravel.
The 22-year-old Sinner climbed out of a deep hole to win his first Grand Slam title 3-6, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-3, consigning Medvedev to a fifth loss in his six major finals.
“It’s very, very tough when you have a mentality, I don’t want to say champion, but a good mentality, a sport mentality, it’s very tough to lose in the final," Medvedev said. "It kind of hurts more.
"But you have to try to find positives — and the positive is, well, the final is better than the semifinal and quarters.”
Fair point. His oh-so-close run to a second Grand Slam title set some records.
It was his fourth five-set match of the tournament, an Open era record. And his total time on court across seven rounds — 24 hours and 17 minutes — surpassed Carlos Alcaraz’s 23:40 at the 2022 U.S. Open for another record.
“But at least I got a record in something,” he said, laughing. “I’m in the history books for something. Let’s take it!”
The first 15-day Australian Open — it started and finished on a Sunday for the first time — featured 35 five-setters, equaling the 1983 U.S. Open for the record.
Medvedev had already equaled a mark set by Pete Sampras in 1995 by reaching the Australian Open final after coming back twice from two sets down.
In two of Medvedev’s five-set matches — a second-round win over Emil Ruusuvuori that finished at almost 4 in the morning, and a 4-hour, 18-minute semifinal win over No. 6 Alexander Zverev — he had very late nights.
Like Sampras in '95, he lost the final. But he's got one in his own right: he's the only player in the Open era to lose two major finals from two sets up.
He lost the 2022 Australian Open final to Rafael Nadal after leading by two sets and a break. That was a year after he lost the final at Melbourne Park to Novak Djokovic.
So now he's 0-3 in Australian Open finals, still not quite in Andy Murray territory (0-5).
Medvedev won the U.S. Open in 2021 and has lost two finals there.
The 27-year-old Russian said his toughest year on the tennis tour followed that loss to Nadal here two years ago. He's conscious of that, but doesn't expect the fallout to be anywhere near as bad this time.
For starters, he said he easily could have lost in the first round, when he started cramping, or his second-round match or his quarterfinal, but still reached the final.
“I don’t know how I’m going to feel in one week or in one month, because sometimes the deception comes after," he said. "And, like, after Rafa’s loss, was it the reason or not, I had my worst season.
"I don’t know what’s happening next, but I’m really going to try to keep the mentality that I go for next Grand Slam, and I go try to win there. And in the middle there is going to be some other tournaments. If I play them, I play them to win.”
AP tennis: https://apnews.com/hub/tennis