Key events

Medvedev 5-7 3-6 7-6(4) 4-4 Zverev* “Wooooh!” says Kyrgios as Medvedev sweeps a backhand winner cross for 0-15. “Medvedev looks good!” That he does – all the more so when Zverev, upping the pace on his groundstrokes, hits with one but misses with another, bringing us to 15-30. He makes 30-all, though, and sweeps a gorgeous forehand cross-court … but Medvedev stretches, stoops … and feels a gorgeous volley! “the Slim Reaper!” enthuses Kyrgios. So, break point … briefly, the Russian stepping back and opting not to chip his return as he has been – perhaps he was expecting Zverev to go big given the circumstances, but his riposte soars long. No matter: Medvedev, on the stretch, gets it back into play from the back, Zverev mistimes his jump … then misses the ball entirely! What a mistake, and what a time to make it! He saves break point again, though, Medvedev going long on the backhand, and from there, Zverev closes out. This match is a proper buzz now, tension mounting.

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*Medvedev 5-7 3-6 7-6(4) 4-3 Zverev It’s hard to keep up with these Medvedev service games, Zverev hooking a forehand wide to cede 0-40 then framing a return that soars over the baseline. After sets of 58, 45 and 62 minutes, this one has seen seven games in 21, both men now satisfying the basics on which their games are founded: big serves and cheap holds, which sounds like a Happy Mondays album but isn’t (for avoidance of doubt).

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Medvedev 5-7 3-6 7-6(4) 3-3 Zverev* Medvedev makes 0-15, so Zverev powers down a serve then, caught at the net but having played a decent approach, watches the attempted pass fly wide. And he quickly makes 40-0, skidding in to lift back a drop, which Medvedev, thinking it’s going long when it isn’t. From there, he closes out, and there’s nothing in this currently – it’s the Russian looking the likelier, but as we near the business end of the set, the spectre of defeat will loom in his conscious.

*Medvedev 5-7 3-6 7-6(4) 3-2 Zverev Medvedev goes long on the forehand, ceding 0-15, then long on the back for 15-30. But he’s soon doing that sneer he does when really into it, two terrific backhands, the second under pressure with Zverev at the net, restoring parity … and from there he closes out, looking the fresher man now. I’ve not a clue which way this is going!

Medvedev 5-7 3-6 7-6(4) 2-2 Zverev* Not much to say here, Zverev serving nicely and holding to love. Which freak of nature will give first?

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*Medvedev 5-7 3-6 7-6(4) 2-1 Zverev And another love hold, a phrase about which I can’t decide: does it take a hyphen? Medvedev guzzles an energy thing at change of ends and looks desperate to get back out there while, for the first time, Zverev is a little flat.

Medvedev 5-7 3-6 7-6(4) 1-1 Zverev* Now it’s Zverev with the love hold, carting a backhand down the line to seal the deal. He might’ve lost focus after losing the breaker, but he’ll have known that a three-set blowout was unlikely and as long as he serves as serves, he’s got a proper chance in any set.

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*Medvedev 5-7 3-6 7-6(4) 1-0 Zverev Medvedev has already come from two sets down to win a match in the competition, somehow nailing Emil Ruusuvuori after playing a miserable first two sets. And he nails four first serves here, holding to love, and the impetus is with him … for now. He ought to have changed up sooner, especially given Zverev did, but he’s playing a smarter match now, looking to to be more aggressive, and it’s working well so far.

Daniil Medvedev wins the third set against Alexander Zverev 7-6(4) and trails by two sets to one

Medvedev 5-7 3-6 7-6(4) Zverev Zverev nets again, and Medvedev has two set points .. but only needs one, Zverev floating a backhand long, and a 62-minute set goes to the Russian! He is an absolutely ludicrous competitor and human being, and we got ourselves a ball-game!

He just doesn’t give up. Photograph: Edgar Su/Reuters

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Medvedev 5-7 3-6 6-6 Zverev (5-4) Medvedev, normally so reliable from the back, nets a nondescript backhand under no rally pressure, ceding his mini-break but retaliating with an ace down the middle, and I hope this isn’t the final set because this is the best the contest has been so far. An unbelievable forehand from Zverev facilitates a nasty overhead made to look routine – his volleying today has been the best I’ve seen it – but then he nets a backhand, on serve, and Medvedev is two holds away from the set!

Medvedev 5-7 3-6 6-6 Zverev (3-1) Brilliant return from Medvedev, cross-court and low over the net, gives him the immediate mini-break. But Zverev, who lost a third-set breaker when two sets up just two days ago, immediately retrieves it, changing the direction of the rally before coming in to despatch another confident volley. Medvedev, though, is into this now, seizing it back at the net, and when Zverev nets a forehand, he’s in charge.

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*Medvedev 5-7 3-6 6-6 Zverev A breaker here would be seriously intense, and when Zverev, having done everything necessary to make 15-all, gets a headrush, wildly overhitting a ball that just needs to go in court, it looks like we’re getting one. A cunning drop makes 40-0, then Zverev nets and here we go!

Medvedev 5-7 3-6 5-6 Zverev* Medvedev has played better in this set but Zverev remains the better player, reading a drop and coming in to guide a winner down the line. Then, at 15-all, Medvedev lanks in pursuing a volley, missing his cross-court riposte by inches, and from there, Zverev quickly cleans up. Again, Medvedev must serve to stay in the match.

*Medvedev 5-7 3-6 5-5 Zverev A drop and putaway, followed by a service-winner and an ace, make light of the pressure, and though a netted forehand allows Zverev into the game, another service-winner levels the set once again.

Medvedev 5-7 3-6 4-5 Zverev* A big forehand makes 15-0, a big serve and backhand putaway 30-0; since winning the first set, Zverev has been so solid in all aspects of the game. A glorious backhand return, though, gives Medvedev hope, and when Zverev nets, he’s under pressure. You can probably guess what happens next but, a service-winner down the middle – he’s 93% on first delivery in this set – but preparing for a second go, up 40-30, he bounces the ball for ages, only to hit the net, completing his first double of the match. AND OH MY COMPLETE AND UTTER ABSOLUTE DAYS! A fantastic rally, Zverev winning it several times before Medvedev runs in to pick up a volley, not only getting it over the net but somehow, from near the tramlines, flipping cross-court it at such pace that his opponent, reaching for the ball, is knocked off his feet! Medvedev, though, can’t capitalise, burning break point with a loose return before tremendous hitting from Zverev, again controlling the tempo, allows him to finish with a forehand to the corner, the 29th shot of the rally. An ace follows, securing a vital hold – Zverev has played the big points brilliantly – and Medvedev must now serve to stay in the championships.

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*Medvedev 5-7 3-6 4-4 Zverev A crushing backhand winner cross-court gives Zverev 0-15, and when Medvedev nets one of his own, he’s a sniff. A service-winner follows, then Zverev misses a forehand down the line after a really good dig-out from his opponent and Medvedev willpowers a forehand winner on to the line, closing out what looked like being a difficult game with a deft volley. He is such a competitor.

Medvedev 5-7 3-6 3-4 Zverev* Are we at Wimbledon Is this 1997? Suddenly this is a serve-fest, Zverev holding easily, and this match has been so odd, with so any specific sections: we;ve had the double-fault phase, the elongated rally phase, the volleying phase – and now the serving phase.

“Wow!” begins Kerrith Britland. “I think many are super-pumped for Siner to do well – down to earth kid who gives the ball an absolute tonk, what’s not to like? Played Novak four times since November and won three. Carlitos can do it but it’s consistency that wins out in tennis, and while Carlitos is box-office talent, maintaining that level with his game-style might be tough.

So, the next gen has arrived? Not sure, but Sinner sure looks like he’s got a game that’s super-hard to attack. I remember an interview from Grigor when he was being compared to Roger and he said that he takes your time away at every opportunity; while Sinner has a different style there are some similarities – the weight and speed of his shots doesn’t let players settle. He’s blending heavy balls (typically Rafa), with shot speed (typically Roger), but going for big areas of the court (typically Novak); Novak compared Carlitos to the big three saying he had the best of each but Sinner seems to have it too –perhaps leaning a little more towards Novak tactically (IMO his best quality).

I always think about how Rafa and Roger almost trained Novak to be as great as he is; now Novak is doing the same to Sinner. FORZA JANNIK!”

*Medvedev 5-7 3-6 3-3 Zverev The closer we get to the end of this set, the closer Medvedev gets to defeat, knowing that any oversight could mean curtains. He’s looking solid on serve now though, an ace down the T making 30-0 and followed by a winner out wide; though he didn’t play great in the first, without the doubles, he probably wins it. Another brute down the middle follows, and that’s another swift hold – but can he find a break?

Medvedev 5-7 3-6 2-3 Zverev* Medvedev doesn’t need to make an impression on Zverev’s serve – I imagine he’d take a breaker if offered – and that’s just as well, because a mahoosive ace secures another love hold.

*Medvedev 5-7 3-6 2-2 Zverev Zverev dominates the first rally of the game, Medvedev looking bedraggled, but he’s going for more now, making 15-all then inside-outing a forehand winner and quickly moving to 40-15. From there, he closes out confidently, and though he looks tired, he’s making Zverev think again.

Medvedev 5-7 3-6 1-2 Zverev* Now then. Consecutive errors from Zverev means he’s down 0-30 … so he responds with an ace down the T. But coming in to handle a dropped return, he’s caught by a lob, and must now save two break points, the first quickly extinguished via serve and clean-up. Huge point coming up and Medvedev, returning from a little closer to the line now, can only send the return long; for all the tactics talk, he’s just not playing well enough. But down game point, after another service-winner, he again comes in and somehow French-crickets a half volley at the net to regain deuce; he’s trying. But from there Zverev serves out, and that will sting Medvedev hard.

Alexander Zverev holds onto his serve in the third set. Photograph: Anthony Wallace/AFP/Getty Images

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*Medvedev 5-7 3-6 1-1 Zverev Medvedev comes in to put away a volley – I’d not be surprised if he tries shortening the points because he’s got to last five sets to win and trying to elongate them isn’t working – and yup, two more volleys make 40-o before a love hold is secured.

Medvedev 5-7 3-6 0-1 Zverev* Zverev opens the set with a service-winner and constructs the next point very nicely before securing 40-0 with a lob, Medvedev flapping a racket forlornly but without intensity, and he’s flagging here. It’s a love hold, and this match is only going one way and i don’t even feel I’ve to add a “for now” to insulate myself.

Medvedev leves court and I’m not surprised. He desperately needs to come up with something, but having played two five-setters in the last eight days, it might be hard to carry out the practical, even if he’s successful with the theory.

Alexander Zverev takes the second set against Daniil Medvedev to lead 7-5 6-3

*Medvedev 5-7 3-6 Zverev Another volley gives Zverev 15-30 – I guess how far back Medvedev stands gives him decent margin for error, as he doesn’t need to be perfect – then he assaults a weak second serve to raise two set points. Medvedev saves the first, going wide before cleaning up, but when he tries the same trick into the advantage court, Zverev returns well, controlling the point until his opponent goes for too much, hitting wide and plenty! Zverev leads by two sets and him winning that one was never really in doubt; long way back for Medvedev from here.

Daniil Medvedev loses the second set. He has a mountain to climb to stay in this match. Photograph: Martin Keep/AFP/Getty Images

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Medvedev 5-7 3-5 Zverev* Zverev serve-volleys for 15-0, knowing that Medvedev is so far back, he has to hit something perfect to make the pass. Then, at 30-all, he serve-volleys again to raise game point, securing 5-3 with another assured volley. Medvedev must now serve to stay in set two, having made precious little impact during in until now

“So we’re down to three players in Zverev, Medvedev and Sinner,” emails Yash Gupta. “All three have one thing in common. When they all won against Novak it looked like next gen has arrived. It failed to materialise when Zverev won in Rome, Thiem crushed Novak at Roland Garros and Medvedev won in New York.

This time it looks different. I don’t remember Djokovic looking so hapless against anyone before his match against Sinner. In fourth set he hit four consecutive backhand shots that in the past would win him any point, but Sinner still won the point. When Novak lost to Zverev and Medvedev in the past there was talk of – well peak Novak wins that match. Against Sinner and his monstrous serves that requires double the length of court to return, Novak looked like a man from another era. So far in his career anyone who questioned Novak looked foolish as he won titles after titles. This time it looks different. NextGen looks to have arrived, just seven years later.”

I don’t know. Djokovic has been so consistent for so long, I can’t write him off after one disaster, but it’s true those chasing him are, finally, taking big steps forward and he may never be dominant again.

*Medvedev 5-7 3-4 Zverev Medvedev badly needs a cheap hold here, and he gets one, an ace sealing a game to love. But can he make an impression on the Zverev serve? And will he change tactics so to do? Pre-match, I expected his opponent to do better adapting on the fly, but so far it’s the reverse, Medvedev still playing the first set even though in the second, Zverev has altered the nature of the challenge by going for more.

The magnificent Rod Laver Arena at dusk. Photograph: Anthony Wallace/AFP/Getty Images

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Medvedev 5-7 2-4 Zverev* You can’t keep ceding breaks to a server of Zverev’s calibre and expect to win sets; you can’t keep ceding breaks to a server of Zverev’s calibre and expect him not to play with greater and greater confidence. He comes in to put away a volley for 15-0 then plays all the tennis in the next rally, smart with his angles and going for areas not lines before finishing with a forehand once the opportunity presents itself. Increasingly, it looks like hanging in points and awaiting the error won’t be enough for Medvedev – it might’ve been enough to win the first set, but the confidence winning it gave Zverev means it’s nowhere near enough so far in the second, and he consolidates to 15.

*Medvedev 5-7 2-3 Zverev Zverev bangs a ball to the corner and cleans up with an overhead, and though a service-winner makes 15-all, the next two rallies are dominated by his forehand, a nicely disguised inside-outer to the corner raising two break points. Medvedev saves the first well, picking up a decent backhand return … and the second with an ace down the T. But a really good backhand winner down the line gives Zverev another go – he’s the man trying to end the rallies, while Medvedev is mainly trying to stick in them – and look at that! Immediately making me look foolish, he finds a luscious drop out of nowhere to regain deuce … only to lose a net exchange, deflecting a body-shot long; break-point number four for Zverev. And this time he snaffles it, a measured forehand to the corner too good! He’s working this out well, it must be said, taking calculated risks to end points in a way he wasnt at the end of set one, and he’s in a very strong position now.

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Medvedev 5-7 2-2 Zverev* A netted backhand cedes 0-15 and this time when Zverev comes in, Medvedev’s attempted pass is good enough for his volley to drift wide; 0-30. But a lovely drop halves the deficit – the German is doing his best to trust his hands – and when Medvedev nets, we’re at 30-all. And from there, he quickly secures another hold, and so far this is a much tighter set.

*Medvedev 5-7 2-1 Zverev In comms, Kyrgios tells us he’s now mates with Tsitsipas, which sounds nice because there’s something moving about the mutual respect and friendship of sportsfolk … but which also sounds a shame, because there’s something thrilling about the animus and grudges of sportsfolk. Medvedev holds to 30, and this set has yet to take shape, neither man playing well enough to impose their will.

Nick Kyrgios and Stefanos Tsitsipas have finally squashed their beef. Photograph: Hannah McKay/Reuters

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Medvedev 5-7 1-1 Zverev* He doesn’t really have to, making 30-all from 0-30 thanks to two errors, but another good volley from Zverev, who’s finding ways to get to the net, and a netted backhand, secure a straightforward hold. Winning that first set has given the number six seed a bit more confidence – I meant to note, he celebrated by cupping ear to crowd, because why would they not be behind him? It’s a mystery, a real head-scratcher – and he’s trusting his game a bit more now.

*Medvedev 5-7 1-0 Zverev We had six rallies over 20 shots in that set, and given both of these lads have played a lot of tennis these last two weeks, this match might be settled by which if them flags first. At the moment, Zverev looks to be finding things harder, but there’s little as rejuvenating as success and he quickly makes 0-30. Medvedev closes but an error means he’s to save yet another break point … and again, he hangs in the rally for longer, waiting for the error that makes deuce. An ace follows, and from there Medvedev quickly closes out. He badly needed that hold because however good you are at rallying, you can’t be constantly coming from behind against so lethal a server, and I’m excited to see if he can extend the rallies through the next game.

Alexander Zverev takes the first set against Daniil Medvedev 7-5

Medvedev 5-7 Zverev* Down 15-0, Medvedev creates a passing opportunity … only to net, and Zverev is two points away from the set. But two errors, the second off the back of a second serve that dribbles over the net, have him howling in frustration, then he goes for too much with a clean-up forehand following a wide serve and must now face yet another break-back point. And he saves it well, a big but measured forehand forcing the error, then another brutal point ensues, one it’s knackering even to watch, and when Zverev finally comes in – he eschewed various opportunities he ought probably to have taken – he’s so bushed he nets a straightforward putaway! Another break-back point for Medvedev, this time confiscated in short order when a short forehand is given the treatment and this time backed up by a solid volley. As we begin another round of deuces, this feels like a massive few minutes for Zverev, who I think needs to win from the front – if he loses a set in he was up a double break and for which he’ll have served twice, the way the match is going, I can’t see him finding a way to impose his will. BUT HAVE A LOOK! At the end of a 51-shot rally, he plays the most gorgeous, casual half-volley winner at the net, barely able to raise his arm in acknowledgment. AND THEN HE PLAYS ANOTHER! This time, Medvedev manages to run it down, but Zverev is there to pat a riposte into the empty court, and this time he spreads arms wide! The first set is his, and that will be quite some relief.

Zverev wins the opening set, finally prevailing 7-5. Photograph: Edgar Su/Reuters

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*Medvedev 5-6 Zverev Down 0-15, Medvedev threads a terrific backhand line as Zverev comes in, looking to make something happen. He does, though, get to 15-30, and at 30-all a booming backhand gives him control of another brutal rally that raises break point. And though Medvedev does brilliantly to pick up a net-cord and find decent spin and depth on it, Zverev finds a terrific lob that means he’ll once again serve for a topsy-turvy set.

Alexander Zverev breaks Medvedev again in the opening set Photograph: Edgar Su/Reuters

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Medvedev 5-5 Zverev* There’s pressure on Zverev but I’m told he always wears shades indoors, so he’s not feart of looking silly. However he goes long with a forehand – again, Medvedev hits flat and slow, forcing him to generate his own power or respond with another nothing-shot, knowing his opponent is comfortable with either choice. He makes 15-all though, then Medvedev nets to end another long rally – at 33 strokes before another Zverev error brings us to 30-all. Neither man is playing well really but both are playing Medvedev’s game – as Dua Lipa sort of said, it’s getting physical – and as I type, a 34-stroke rally goes to the Russian, raising break point, then he converts it by waiting it out in the next! Momentum has switched, Medvedev retrieving two breaks, and Zverev goes to his corner in anguished stupefaction – he needs to find a way of imposing his own game, but if the big serve doesn’t work, does he have the weapons so to do?