Daniil Medvedev progressed through to the Diriyah Tennis Cup final after a straight-sets victory over Stan Wawrinka.
It was an ultimately comfortable conquest for the world no.7, but it was not until the seventh game that the Russian won a game to love.
The first six games all went to serve, and Wawrinka even squandered three chances to break Medvedev in a pulsating sixth game which ultimately went in the Russian’s favour.
The Swiss gave Medvedev something to think about by winning the first game to love in the seventh game, and moved 4-3 ahead.
However, it was relative plain sailing for Medvedev from that point though, as he wrapped up the first set in 37 minutes after winning the next three games to draw first blood.
He carried on that momentum in the second set to eventually win the first game on his third break point, but the man ranked 149th in the world would not go down without a fight.
Wawrinka broke Medvedev in the second game and won the third to love and moved 2-1 ahead in the second set.
But the reigning champion fought back to claim the next two games and turn the tide in his favour, winning the first of those to love and breaking Wawrinka at the third attempt in the second.
The sixth game swung both ways, but ultimately saw Medvedev prevail to move 4-2 in front, but Wawrinka won the next to 30 to cut the score to 4-3 in the Russian’s favour.
Medvedev won the eighth game to 15 and knew a place in the final would be secured if he managed to break Wawrinka once more on his serve.
The game went to the Swiss though to leave the set at 5-4, leaving the Russian a chance to serve for a place in the final.
He eventually wrapped things up on his third match point to conclude matters in one hour and 27 minutes.
“It was so tough to play him, but for him as well because I played well today,” said Medvedev in his post-match, on-court interview.
“I was putting a lot of balls in the court to try and make his life difficult too, but sometimes he plays so strongly that there was no chance to touch the ball.
“It was a high-level match and I was very happy to win it.
“I will try my best (in the final), there were a lot of people here today and it was a great atmosphere. I’m sure there will be even more people around tomorrow. I’m looking forward to it, so I’ll relax now and then get ready.”
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