Daniil Medvedev, the third-ranked player, narrowly avoided defeat at the Australian Open by rallying back from a two-set deficit to defeat Emil Ruusuvuori in a match that ended at 3:40am in Melbourne.
Medvedev appeared to have gone to bed earlier, but the Finnish player without a seed gained dominance. However, the Russian demonstrated his determination and persisted until the early hours of the morning, ultimately winning 3-6, 6-7 (1-7), 6-4, 7-6 (7-1), 6-0 with sunrise still two hours away.
The competition began at 11:15pm and continued for a duration of four hours and 23 minutes. The match concluded with a small but dedicated audience at Rod Laver Arena. Medvedev took to the court following Elena Rybakina’s defeat in the longest tie-breaker in a women’s grand slam event, with a score of 22-20 in favor of Anna Blinkova.
“Honestly guys, I would not be here,” the Russian told the crowd afterwards. “Thanks for staying. That was tough, tough, tough. If I came as a tennis fan, at 1am I would have been like: ‘OK, let’s go home and catch the end of the match on the TV.’ I guess, thanks guys. You are strong. Strong!”
The fifth day of the Australian Open concluded on a Friday, despite the addition of an extra Sunday at the beginning of the tournament and the first round being spread out over three days. It was the latest finish of the year, but did not come close to breaking the record for the tournament. In a second-round match lasting five hours and 45 minutes, Andy Murray defeated Thanasi Kokkinakis just after 4am last year.
And that was only good enough for second place. The latest-finishing match in grand slam history ended with Lleyton Hewitt beating Marcos Baghdatis at 4.34am in 2008.
Medvedev’s slow start could be attributed to the late start of the match. He lost his first service game and fell behind 3-0 quickly. With 16 unforced errors, the two-time Melbourne finalist quickly found himself down a set.
Medvedev had to receive medical attention for a blister during the second set. Despite his determination, he ultimately lost in the tie-break and was at risk of an early elimination in Melbourne.
Nevertheless, Ruusuvuori’s lackluster performance in his service game, resulting in a double fault when facing a break-point in the third game of the third set, allowed Medvedev to rally and ultimately win the set.
The 27-year-old player broke Ruusuvuori’s serve at the beginning of the fourth set, but later lost the lead and was penalized for breaking a racket. Medvedev then controlled the tie-break to even the score before tiring out his opponent and the audience as the match went past 3am. He ultimately won with a final set score of 6-0 as Ruusuvuori battled with shoulder issues.
Next up for Medvedev is a match against Felix Auger-Aliassime, who defeated Hugo Grenier 6-1, 3-6, 6-1, 6-2.