(Reuters) – A resilient Daniil Medvedev stunned world number one and holder Novak Djokovic in the Cincinnati Masters semi-finals on Saturday.
The ninth seeded Russian stepped up his game after losing the first set and took the victory 3-6 6-3 6-3.
“I was so tired in the first set and playing Novak, I thought I’m not going to be able to keep the intensity,” Medvedev said in a courtside interview with ESPN.
“Then there was one momentum change in the second and I just started playing unbelievable.”
Medvedev, who also beat Djokovic in April at Monte Carlo, will play Belgian David Goffin in the final on Sunday.
The 16th seeded Goffin beat France’s Richard Gasquet 6-3 6-4 in the other semi-final.
“I’m really happy,” said Goffin. “I’ve played the best tennis here in the past few years… It’s a great moment for me.”
A quick break saw Goffin surge to a 4-1 lead with a backhand winner down the line in the first set.
Gasquet grabbed a 2-0 lead in the second set before Goffin claimed five of the next six games.
He won the set and the match when a Gasquet backhand was long.
Goffin had received a walkover into the semi-finals after Yoshihito Nishioka was forced to withdraw due to food poisoning.
“It was almost a day off, so I was fresh and physically 100 percent today to play against Richard,” the Belgian said.
Goffin added that he was “lost” after the walkover.
“I didn’t know what to do. Do I have another practice session, go to the physio and have some treatment? I didn’t know,” the Belgian said.
“I decided to go on the court for some practice and do what I normally do after.”
(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina, editing by Pritha Sarkar/Greg Stutchbury)