The Australian Open has drew the ire of spectators after a baffling decision to leave the roof open on Rod Laver Arena despite rain interrupting the men's quarter-final match at a pivotal point.
Daniil Medvedev summoned up astonishing reserves of spirit and quality to win 6-7 (4-7), 3-6, 7-6 (7-2), 7-5, 6-4 in a near-five hour classic against the impressive Felix Auger-Aliassime on Wednesday.
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However, Auger-Aliassime would have been ruing his fortune in the tiebreak for the third set when he was two sets up against the World No.2.
With Medvedev 2-1 up, but facing considerable pressure to stay in the match against the red-hot Canadian, rain started to cover Rod Laver Arena.
Medvedev was able to take a moment to regain his composure as officials closed the roof and subsequently ran away with the tiebreak.
Aussie tennis legend Lleyton Hewitt said the break was tough for the young Canadian.
“That little break midway through the tie-break there and just that extra, close to seven minutes thinking that he is so close to finishing this match and a semi-final of another major,” Hewitt said on Channel Nine.
“He has to really try to reset here.”
While the Russian took advantage of the situation, Auger-Aliassime could have been wondering why the roof wasn't shut earlier to prevent the issue.
Spectators shared this sentiment with many pointing to the 'farcical' scenes of the ball kids cleaning the court as the players rested.
Having the roof open when everybody in Melbs knew the rain was coming, except for apparently #AusOpen and now mopping up with towels. Could we be any more embarrassing. 🤦♀️
— Julie Whittaker the Sewer Prole (@whittyjules) January 26, 2022
@AustralianOpen With rain clearly in the forecast, I really wonder what would have happened if the roof had already been closed and didn't disrupt the match? #AusOpen
Phenomenal show by Daniil and Felix though. It's never over until you cross match point!
— Rested & Highly Favored (@LeeLeeAne) January 26, 2022
Rain in Melbourne and instead of closing the roof at the stadium, we have the poor ball kids scrubbing the raindrops with towels while it's STILL raining 😂
Do better. @AustralianOpen #AusOpen #AO2022 #tennis #AustralianOpen #AustralianOpen2022
— BETTER BETS TENNIS 🎾 (@BettrBetsTennis) January 26, 2022
— Heath Linton (@heathro37) January 26, 2022
From commentary on radio I heard players were asking about the roof so it should have closed at last change over or something
Rain has stopped at a crucial point and well not really sure what's going on in the minds of #AusOpen organisers this year!
— Victoria Wai 📷 (@_victoriawai_) January 26, 2022
So poor that you would fail with an open roof letting rain fall in the middle of a tennis major. Epic Fail !!
— steve forsyth (@555casbah) January 26, 2022
Daniil Medvedev triumphs in Australian Open classic
Despite the break, Medvedev channelled 'Djokovic's fight' and clawed his way back from two sets down to win.
The Russian, who reckoned he had simply not known what to do when the young Canadian's forehand tracers zipped past him, admitted: "He was playing insane, like better than I have ever seen him play. It was unreal.
"So, third set, I had zero confidence in myself and in the outcome of the match."
In his post-match speech with Jim Courier, Medvedev was asked about what was going through his mind having comeback from what appeared to be oblivion.
Medvedev pre-warned the Australian Open crowd: "I don't know if people will like it," before explaining his mentality as "What would Novak do?"
The cheeky moment had the Rod Laver Arena crowd both laughing and pantomime booing.
Medvedev will now face Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Australian Open semi-final.
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