Daniil Medvedev returns a shot during the fourth set of the match against Rafael Nadal. Elsa/Getty Images/AFP
Daniil Medvedev rallied from two sets down to send Sunday’s US Open final against 18-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal into a fifth set.
The Russian fifth seed broke Nadal with a sublime backhand return winner in the 10th game of the fourth set to take it 6-4 and keep alive his bid for a first Grand Slam title.
Nadal had raced to a two-set lead against the Russian fifth seed, winning the first set 7-5 and the second set 6-3.
The 33-year-old Spanish left-hander came into the match chasing his 19th career Grand Slam singles title, and his fifth championship match on the New York hardcourts.
It was all on course until Medvedev, 23, rallied to claim the third set 5-7, before forcing a fifth with a 6-4 triumph in the fourth set.
Victory would mark a first major title for the Russian.
Nadal is Medvedev’s fourth left-handed foe of the tournament and after a shaky start, he seem to have a better bearing of how to play the legendary Spaniard.
“It’s really unusual. I think this year before I’ve played like three lefties in all the year,” Medvedev said before the game. “Now I’ve played already three this tournament. Just amazing. But of course it helps a lot that I played three lefties before with completely different style. Kind of getting used to it. It’s going to help me.”
Medvedev had also envisaged that he might have an edge in having faced Nadal in Canada, even in defeat.
“It was a tough one,” Medvedev said. “His energy was much higher than mine. He kind of, I would say, had eaten me on the court.
“He was only going harder, harder, faster, stronger, and I was only going down. It’s great that I have this experience playing him in the final of a Masters. I know what to expect. I know how to prepare for it.

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