Novak Djokovic cruises into Astana final after Daniil Medvedev retires

Astana [Kazakhstan], October 9 (ANI): Novak Djokovic advanced to the final match on Saturday at the Astana Open after Daniil Medvedev retired from the duo’s semi-final clash at the end of a dramatic second-set tie-break due to a leg injury.

Medvedev’s shocking retirement came moments after Djokovic had clinched a dramatic tie-break to level the match at 4-6, 7-6(6).

“I really hope that his injury is nothing too serious. I know Daniil, he’s a great guy, he’s a fighter, he’s a big competitor. He wouldn’t retire a match if he didn’t feel that he [could] continue or [if it wouldn’t] worsen his injury. He told me that he pulled an adductor muscle in his leg,” ATP.com quoted Djokovic as saying.

“It was such a close match, particularly in the second set. I would probably say he was a better player on the court in both sets. I was fighting and trying to find a way. I found a way to win the second, but I’m just sad for the tournament and for these people who were enjoying the battle, and for Daniil that it had to end this way,” he added.

Djokovic will now aim to seal back-to-back titles in Sunday’s final against Stefanos Tsitsipas, who was a 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 winner against Andrey Rublev. The Serbian, who lifted his 89th tour-level crown in Tel Aviv last week.

“We played a lot of drop shots once the balls got really big and fluffy and I couldn’t really penetrate through him,” Djokovic said.

“He’s like a wall. I’ve been in those shoes myself throughout my career, that players thought they couldn’t put a ball past me, but now I [know] how it feels when someone who really doesn’t make mistakes is on the opposite side of the net. He just makes you work really hard for every single point,” he said.

The second set ended in a tie-break since there were no service breaks. The opening point was won by Medvedev. After that, Djokovic used the drop shot on four straight points and won them all. Finally, when Medvedev’s forehand lob went long, he prevailed in the tie-break with yet another drop shot.

“The conditions here are playing a bit slower, actually a lot slower than last week in Israel where I played, so I had to adjust and against a player like Daniil, you’re just not going to have many free points. Actually, maybe none. So you just have to work your way all the time. The tie-break was super exciting and the house was on fire here in the stadium,” he added.

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