NEW YORK : When Daniil Medvedev reached his first U.S. Open final in 2019, he lost a gruelling five-set match against Rafael Nadal after what he called a "crazy" tournament, including a feud with the New York crowd.
But this time, he said on Friday after his straight-set demolition https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/sports/medvedev-powers-his-way-through-us-open-final-2021-09-10 of Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime in the semifinals, everything is different - starting with his desire to win.
"Let's be honest, I was already happy being in the final," the Russian said of the 2019 tournament. "I was not feeling like it's a must to win."
The world number two has carved a comfortable path through the draw to reach his third major final, dropping only a single set in six matches and wrapping up his win over Auger-Aliassime in a brisk two hours and four minutes.
His 2019 U.S. Open was far more eventful. He said he endured severe cramping in his second-round match and suffered a tear in his quadriceps during a win over Stan Wawrinka.
More memorably, he earned the enmity of the fans during a third-round match, when he angrily snatched a towel from a ballperson and then showed the crowd his middle finger.
But his subsequent apology, and his riveting performance in the final after dropping the first two sets, turned him from villain to hero.
"This year I didn't have the stories, and that's a good thing," Medvedev said.
The 25-year-old is still searching for his first major title after losing to Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open final earlier this year.
"The more you lose something, the more you want to win it, the more you want to gain it and take it," he said. "I lost two finals. I want to win the third one."
(Reporting by Joseph Ax; Editing by William Mallard)