Shanghai: Daniil Medvedev reached a staggering ninth final this year as he defeated fellow rising star Stefanos Tsitsipas at the Shanghai Masters on Saturday.
The 23-year-old Medvedev, who has lifted three titles in a breakthrough 2019, beat Greece's Tsitsipas 7-6 (7/5), 7-5.
The US Open finalist from Russia plays Alexander Zverev of Germany or Italy's Matteo Berrettini in Sunday's decider as the next generation takes centre stage in China.
Medvedev has now seen off the 21-year-old — who defeated World No 1 Novak Djokovic on Friday — in all five of their matches.
"It's something I could never have dreamed of," the World No 4 said of his sixth final on the trot.
"I want to keep the momentum going and hopefully make it to seven or eight."
There was nothing in it as they entered the first-set tie break after 43 minutes of high-quality tennis.
Seventh-ranked Tsitsipas blinked first, gifting set point when he shanked a forehand and then doing the same moments later to put the fourth-ranked Russian a set up.
Medvedev broke the Greek — who repeatedly tried to gee up the crowd — in the third game of the second set. The Russian served for the match at 5-4, only for Tsitsipas to dig in and break for 5-5, before Medvedev did likewise.
Tsitsipas smacked the ball out of the court in a rage before Medvedev sealed the match in the 12th game of the second set.
"Same vibes, the same thing all over again," said Tsitsipas of yet another defeat to the Russian. "I don't mean to be rude at all, but it's just boring.
"It's so boring that I hate myself for putting myself into that kind of situation where I have to play on his terms and not on my terms."
In the other semi-final on Saturday, Germany's Zverev eased past Matteo Berrettini of Italy 6-3, 6-4 in a showdown between two more budding talents.
Medvedev is yet to overcome the 22-year-old Zverev in four attempts.
"I did say before this year and during this year in the beginning that Sascha (Zverev) was the best in our 'Next Gen' group," the world number four said.
"He won three Masters when none of us were even close to doing this. Positions have changed a little bit so I think I can contest him right now."
Sixth-ranked Zverev, long touted as the man most likely to join the "Big Three" of Federer, Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, has had a disappointing year, winning only one title. But the German defeated 20-time Grand Slam champion Federer on Friday and took that momentum into his last-four clash with the 23-year-old Berrettini.
The Italian, 13th in the world, put up a better fight in the second set but was broken in the ninth game as his hopes of an upset faded.
Zverev said the victory over Federer had given him a major confidence boost. But he said that past meetings with Medvedev stood for nothing because the Russian has improved markedly since their last match, in 2018.
"He's different this year than previous years," said a wary Zverev. "He's been playing some unbelievable tennis in the last few months. He's probably the best player in the world, making six finals in a row, winning a Masters (in Cincinnati in August) and making the US Open final."
"He's definitely playing the best tennis of his life."
Nadal, the World No 2 and winner over Medvedev at Flushing Meadows, is not in Shanghai because of a wrist injury.
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Updated Date: Oct 12, 2019 20:18:03 IST