Russian qualifier Daniil Medvedev has booked his spot in the Sydney International final after upsetting fourth seed Fabio Fognini 2-6 6-4 6-1.
The 84th-ranked Medvedev came back from a set down on Friday to move within one win of what would be his maiden ATP title.
Medvedev, who belted 10 aces, will meet Australian teenager Alex De Minaur in the title match, after De Minaur accounted for world No.42 Frenchman Benoit Paire on Friday night.
“I saw him play in some tournaments and I knew already before that he’s gonna be a great player,” Medvedev said.
“I remember he was playing with Technifibre before and we had a camp where I played like some tiebreaks with him. He was, like, 15. I said, Wow, this guy plays so good. It was only me serving and he beat me. I was, like, Wow, this guy is amazing. He is going to be good.
“And he’s becoming good now. I wish him all the best. It’s nice to see some young guys coming up.”
The young Russian’s winning streak now stands at six after he came through two rounds of qualifying in Sydney.
Yet that streak looked set to end at Ken Rosewall Arena, as Fognini built a 6-2 3-1 lead while Medvedev struggled in the warm conditions.
Somehow, he fought his way back, winning 11 of the next 13 games against an increasingly frustrated Fognini, who finished the match with 44 unforced errors.
“Honestly, I cannot even say myself (how I turned it around). I’m just very happy that it happened like this,” Medvedev said.
“Until 6-2, 3-1, Fabio was playing unbelievable. And me, I felt that I didn’t show my best tennis. So then suddenly it started to turn around step by step, and then finally, I almost didn’t lose a game.
“Finally at some moment it started to work. I could feel him a little bit down because he was leading, and we know Fabio, he can get crazy if he’s leading and he starts to lose. So I was waiting for this and I got it.”