AO 2022 Day 10 : Marathon man Medvedev, Swiatek strikes back  

It was crunch time in Melbourne as the stars of the show vied for Australian Open 2022 semi-final spots.

Daniil Medvedev Australian Open 2022©Corinne Dubreuil / FFT
 - Alex Sharp

It was a complete tennis whirlwind on Wednesday at Melbourne Park with precious semi-final slots the prize at Australian Open 2022.

On the men’s side the players were vying to join Rafael Nadal and Matteo Berrettini in the final four.

Over on the women’s draw, world No.1 Ash Barty and Madison Keys had two more elite talents to join them.

Here are the key headlines from a packed Day 10…

Medvedev reels in FAA

Refuse to lose is the mantra for world No.2 Daniil Medvedev. The US Open champion saved a match point to overhaul Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-7(4), 3-6, 7-6(2), 7-5, 6-4 in a five-hour marathon.

They finished gone midnight on 182 points apiece. It was that kind of battle royale. 

The Russian was completely outclassed in the opening two sets, but proved his champion’s mentality to prevent defeat at 4-5 in the fourth set, before booking his semi-final showdown with world No.4 Stefanos Tsitsipas.

“I had zero confidence after the two sets. He was playing insane, better than I have ever seen him play,” said Medvedev, who had defeated the Canadian in straight sets at the same stage of the US Open.

"I told myself 'what Novak (Djokovic) would do?' Because he's one of the greatest champions. Or Roger (Federer) or Rafa (Nadal), they have won so many matches like this.

"I just thought, 'Okay, I'm gonna make him work. If he wants to win it, he needs to fight to the last point. It worked, I managed to raise my level, especially in the third set tiebreak."

The mischievous Medvedev scribbled “not tired” onto the broadcast camera, but he’ll need to replenish rapidly to enter the ring for his Tsitsipas bout. 

“Look at the best, they were able to do it somehow. If I want to be a part of this group, even if I'm really far right now, I want to try to make it happen,” added the 25-year-old. “I'm going to try to recover as well as possible, to be ready to play against Stefanos, because he's a great player. I need to be at my best to beat him.”

Stefanos Tsitsipas Australian Open 2022©Corinne Dubreuil / FFT

Golden from the Greek 

Tsitsipas opened the night session with a flawless display to dominate world No.10 Jannik Sinner 6-3, 6-4, 6-2, without facing a break point.

The picturesque points pinging off the Greek’s racket were a sight to behold, but now his attention turns to overcoming Medvedev.

The world No.2 leads their head-to-head at 6-2, including a straight sets victory in Melbourne in the final four last February. However, Tsitsipas posted 6-3, 7-6(3), 7-5 at Roland-Garros last June. This is going to be quite the show.

“I feel like I'm in the zone. I have no plans of getting out of it. It's part of my game,” insisted the 23-year-old, then discussing his relationship with Medvedev. 

“Well, it's fine. It kind of got better after Laver Cup. We haven't really spoken in the last couple of months, but our relationship is competitors on the court and kind of fighting for the same dream.

“I'm ready for anything” 

Iga Swiatek Australian Open 2022©Corinne Dubreuil / FFT

Swiatek fights back again

When Iga Swiatek ruled Roland-Garros 2020 the Pole played her finest, fluent tennis.

Fast forward to AO 2022 and the 20-year-old is having to navigate through the maze of Grand Slam tennis with far more grit.

The world No.9 rallied from a set and a break down 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-3 to inch past Estonian veteran Kaia Kanepi into her maiden Australian Open semi-final.

At three hours and one minute, with an astonishing match point of retrieval, sliding and variety, Swiatek prevailed in the longest match of her fledging career.

“Amazing. I'm pretty proud of myself, especially after matches like that, because coming back from losing first set it's a new thing for me,” stated the Pole, securing back-to-back wins from a set deficit for the first time ever, hailing the work with her sports psychologist 

“I have more belief even when I don't start the match well. I'm still able to find solutions and actually think more on court on what to change, because before it wasn't that clear for me.”

Swiatek is gaining extra motivation to channel the fighting qualities of her idol Rafael Nadal to reach the final. 

“I fist pumped Rafa like two days ago, so that was really inspiring. I was watching every match except yesterday's, I watched fifth set,” revealed the seventh seed.

“You can see that he's just pure class and he's a legend.  I just really enjoy that not only as a tennis player but also as a fan.”

Collins driven by hard graft

Swiatek will vie for a final spot against American Danielle Collins.

Three years after her major breakthrough at Melbourne Park, the world No.30 returned to the semi-finals with a 7-5, 6-1 victory to end Alize Cornet’s dream run.

Alizé Cornet Danielle Collins Australian Open 2022©Corinne Dubreuil / FFT

Cornet, featuring in her first Grand Slam quarter-final in her 63rd consecutive major, battled back from 2-5 to level, but from there Collins’ ferocious hitting stormed towards the final four.

“I had a great match today. Really happy about how I'm feeling physically and mentally. Hopefully we can keep it going,” stated the 27th seed, who has been rebuilding with pure determination since undergoing surgery for endometriosis in April last Spring.

"I think one of the things that's most gratifying is just the amount of work over such a long period of time kind of coming all together. It's not something that happens over a year or two years. It starts from the time you're a kid, all of the hard work you've put in."

Cornet bemoaned a lack of energy in the tank to tackle a fierce competitor like Collins, but was thrilled by her fortnight in Melbourne.

"She didn't scream that much. When I see her playing on TV, sometimes she's yelling, ‘C'mon.’ She looks like a lion. Today I don't think I gave her enough battle so she could express herself,” reflected the Frenchwoman.

“It showed me when I reflect on this that I'm maybe tougher than what I thought, that I can beat many good players in a row even in a Slam. I should just keep believing, keep working. Maybe an exciting season is ahead of me.”