Rafael Nadal had everything ready. The suitcases packed, the ticket bought and he had even passed the turnstile of the station. But when he wanted to get on the train that leads to the final of the masters tournament, he blocked and gave in a dramatic match against Daniil Medvedev (3-6, 7-6 (4) and 6-3) quoted with the Austrian Dominik Thiem the Sunday for the conquest of the trophy.
The Spaniard, who longs for this last great title for his record, had the match in his hand, when he served to defeat the Russian in the second set, but he disconnected, gave life to Medvedev and this ended up passing him in the final set .
After showing a level close to excellence throughout the group stage, counting his three games as victories and having bagged six of six sets, Medvedev reached these semifinals with the air of a favorite. He had beaten Novak Djokovic on the way and two weeks ago he took the title at Paris-Bercy.
Already in 2019 he was about to beat Nadal. He was 5-1 up in the third set and gave up.
The Russian, in his checkered uniform and his game even more checkered, adhered to the rallies and long exchanges. A scenario that was comfortable for Nadal, who is hurt by aggressiveness and violence.
Nor was Moscow very fine at the service and although the game was going slowly, it was going firmly for the interests of the two players. Nadal began suffering, who had to save three balls from 'break' in the third game, but the balance was soon reversed.
When the chair umpire ordered the balls to be renewed, Medvedev anticipated a quiet service. He could break the yellow sphere at will, but his stage collapsed.
Nadal went 0-40 and broke him. He found the crack in the robot and caused a short circuit. That's why Medvedev crashed the racket the next game, when Nadal was already rushing into a first set cooked over low heat, but perfect in the result.
The released tension relaxed the Manacor team too much, who started the second set with one march less. He began to miss, failed to press Medvedev's first serve and delivered his with a double fault.
It looked like a death sentence to a punch like the Russian, but his shotgun on duty failed. It allowed Nadal to return and recover the disadvantage.
And as if it was a 'remake' of what happened last year, Medvedev disintegrated. He went from comfortably leading 4-1 and having the set in his pocket, to losing a bloodbath of occasions.
With 4-4 and a 'break' ball in favor of Nadal, a backhand balloon from the Spanish flew over the Russian's head. And there the meeting marched. If he entered, Nadal would be a serve from the final, but to start over.
And I go in. And with him the hopes of the final were opened, but a horrible next game by the Manacorean gave the Russian an extra life. With 5-4 in favor and serve, Nadal lost it blank.
He gave a thread of life to Medvedev, who took the game to the tiebreaker and equalized it taking advantage of the failures of the Balearic.
In equal sets, a detail would decide the match and Nadal seemed the most likely to concede it. He had dropped the bar a lot and Medvedev looked like at any moment he would break out and accelerate to victory.
He needed four chances, but he managed to break the resistance of the Spaniard, who was playing all the important points badly.
Medvedev broke, went 4-3 up and no longer gave up the advantage. He will be the first Russian since Nikolay Davydenko in 2009 to play in the final of the masters tournament.
The Russian will face Dominic Thiem, who beat Novak Djokovic. In front, Nadal will continue to have this tournament pending on his record. That title that one more year will not wear in their windows.