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New world number one Medvedev targets 'revenge' against Nadal after Australian Open final defeat

By Ben Somerford

Acapulco (Mexico), February 25: New world number one Daniil Medvedev says Friday's Mexican Open semi-final against Rafael Nadal is his "chance to get my revenge" after last month's epic Australian Open defeat.

Medvedev progressed to the final four in Acapulco on Thursday (February 24) with a routine 6-2 6-3 victory over Yoshihito Nishioka, while Nadal triumphed 6-0 7-6 (7-5) over Tommy Paul to set up their semi-final meeting.

The Russian's win capped a fine day after Novak Djokovic's loss to Jiri Vesely at the Dubai Tennis Championships meant he would next week become the new world number one for the first time in his career.

Before then, however, Medvedev must take on Nadal in Acapulco, with the pair having not faced off since last month's epic Australian Open decider, where the Spanish fought back from two set downs to clinch a record-breaking 21st major title.

"It’s always special to play against him,” Medvedev said following his win over Nishioka. “Kind of a chance to get my revenge.

“I have to learn from the best, which is him, Roger [Federer], Novak [Djokovic], Andy [Murray]. Always when they were losing a tough fight, they were trying to get their revenge. Sometimes they managed to do it, sometimes not. That’s what I’m going to try to do if I play Rafa."

Medvedev revealed he did not realise that Djokovic's loss would mean he would become number one until he started receiving congratulatory messages on Thursday.

"It’s not easy to play a match when you get this news during the day," Medvedev said.

"The first goal for me was to still win today because I’m here to try to win every match I play. But it’s definitely some great news."

Nadal was full of praise for the new world number one, admitting his excitement at their re-match.

The Spaniard prevailed in five hours and 28 minutes over Medvedev in Melbourne, winning 2-6 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 6-4 7-5 and was ready for the re-match.

"Everybody knows how difficult it is to play against Daniil," Nadal said after Thursday's win over Paul.

"I know I have to play at my highest level if I want to have any chance, and that's what I'm going to try. I have to play my game.

"Everybody knows how difficult the final was in Australia. Tomorrow is going to be another battle.

"I know he's playing well, plenty of confidence... I am excited to play that match."

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Story first published: Friday, February 25, 2022, 12:40 [IST]
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