(Amends spelling of Daniil in lead)
MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Daniil Medvedev said he had "zero confidence" when he trailed Felix Auger-Aliassime by two sets in their Australian Open quarter-final on Wednesday yet somehow found a way to claim victory in a Rod Laver Arena classic.
The 25-year-old world number two was being outplayed by a majestic Auger-Aliassime and looked to be running out of ideas.
But after snatching the third set on a tiebreak he benefited from the closure of the roof to change the momentum of the match and win 6-7(4) 3-6 7-6(2) 7-5 6-4.
It means he is still in with a chance of winning a second successive Grand Slam after claiming his first by beating Novak Djokovic in last year's U.S. Open final.
"I had zero confidence after the two sets. He was playing insane, like better than I have ever seen him play, at least against me or in practice," Medvedev, who saved a match point in the fourth set, told reporters.
"I have never seen him play like this. It was unreal. And I didn't show exactly my best level. Was missing just a little bit too much. Yeah, so third set I had zero confidence in myself and in the outcome of the match. I just tried to fight."
On court after the match Medvedev said he has summoned the warrior spirit of absent world number one Djokovic to help him turn the match around -- eliciting boos from the crowd.
Djokovic was deported on the eve of the tournament after having his visa cancelled after a long-running saga over a COVID-19 exemption to play at the tournament.
"I've played more times with Novak, like when I started to be good, Rafa (Nadal) and Roger (Federer) got a little bit injured from time to time so I had more matches with Novak," Medvedev said. "Some matches I watched win in Grand Slams, being two sets down with (Stefanos) Tsitsipas and (Lorenzo) Musetti in Roland Garros.
"And I was there between the sets, I was like, 'what would the best players in the world do?' Which I'm part of, but still young and very far in Grand Slam titles.
"As soon as I was down a little bit, I was like: Just be like Novak. Show him that you are better. It won't work every time, because again, he had a match point.
"But this time it worked."
(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Christian Radnedge)