Daniil Medvedev fought hard to reach the Indian Wells final by beating Frances Tiafoe 7-5 7-6(5) in a high quality match.
Medvedev had the crowd against him but was in top form as he played some of his best tennis to get the better of Tiafoe, who was playing in his first Masters semi-final.
Carlos Alcaraz or Jannik Sinner will await Medvedev in the final on Sunday.
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“I really didn’t want to play the third set because it’s a whole set where I have to break the guy again,” said Medvedev.
“I’m super disappointed and frustrated to not finish the match earlier but at the same time that’s tennis.
“In general, I played good, especially if I closed the match out earlier I would have been really happy with myself.
“There is no time to go hard on yourself when there is a match tomorrow, so I’m really happy to not lose this match.”
The opening four games were shared with relative ease, before Tiafoe found himself 0-40 down on serve in the fifth game.
However, the American served himself out of trouble to hold and the match was soon at 5-5, with Medvedev holding his serve more easily.
Medvedev had another break point chance in the 11th game and this time he took the opportunity with a brilliant forehand flick as Tiafoe stood at the net.
Tiafoe jokingly tapped a ball at Medvedev after the game, with the high quality match being played with great respect between the players.
As expected, Medvedev held serve to take the set and then broke at the start of the second with another extraordinary forehand down the line.
He had two chances to get the double break in the third game, but Tiafoe fought back again to keep himself in the match.
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A more aggressive Tiafoe caused Medvedev more problems for the remainder of the semi-final but he faced three match points at 5-3 on serve.
Remarkably, he saved them all, then broke Medvedev to make it all square in the second set to the delight of the California crowd.
All it did was fire Medvedev up as the 2021 US Open champion immediately got his break back with another incredible forehand, only to throw away another four match points on serve and Tiafoe broke again to force a tie-break.
Despite the big momentum swing, Medvedev showed his mental fortitude by winning the tie-break 7-5 to advance into the final.
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