Daniil Medvedev survived a stern test from his friend and fellow Russian Karen Khachanov to win 7-6(5) 3-6 6-3 for a tour-leading 28th victory this season and a spot in the Miami Open final.
Red-hot fourth seed Medvedev has now reached the final in five consecutive events after triumphs in Doha, Rotterdam and Dubai before finishing runner-up at Indian Wells.
He will face either Spain’s Indian Wells champion and world number one Carlos Alcaraz, who is bidding to become the first player to win the “Sunshine Double” without losing a set, or 10th-seeded Italian Jannik Sinner in Sunday’s final.
“Really happy to be through a very tough match,” Medvedev said in his on-court interview.
He was tested early and had to come back from 15-40 to hold serve in the opening game as he needed time to figure out the serve of 14th seed Khachanov, who impressively rattled off his first 13 points from the line.
Medvedev finally broke for a 5-3 lead but Khachanov fought off a set point and broke back to put the contest back on serve as the Russians headed to a tiebreak where Medvedev ended the tight battle by winning three of the final four points.
Khachanov got off to a flying start in the second as he consolidated an early break with a love hold for a 3-0 lead after winning 12 of the first 15 points and went on to take the set in emphatic fashion with a love hold to force a decider.
Medvedev, who entered the match having not dropped a set in Miami, showed his resolve and patience to consolidate an early break and race out to a 4-1 lead.
With no room for error, Khachanov delivered the first of four consecutive love holds between the pair.
The last coming in a game that ended on an entertaining match point where he pulled off an impressive tweener only to send his next shot long. (Reuters/NAN)