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Australian Open: Tsitsipas survives five-set epic, Medvedev slams bathroom break rule

Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece celebrates after defeating Taylor Fritz of the US. (AP)
Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece celebrates after defeating Taylor Fritz of the US. (AP)

Estonia's Kaia Kanepi rallied from a set down to topple world number two Aryna Sabalenka 5-7 6-2 7-6 (10) on Margaret Court Arena



By AFP

Published: Mon 24 Jan 2022, 6:40 PM

Fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas survived an attritional fourth-round battle with American Taylor Fritz on Monday, twice coming from a set behind to win 4-6 6-4 4-6 6-3 6-4 and reach the Australian Open quarterfinals.

At just past midnight on Rod Laver Arena, the Greek ended Fritz’s resistance to set up a clash with Italian 11th seed Jannik Sinner when he will be seeking to reach the semifinals here for the third time in his career.

Tsitsipas looked out of sorts and edgy at times but his greater experience on the big stages eventually told as he got the decisive break in the fifth set before claiming victory.

Fritz, playing in his first Grand Slam fourth round, converted only two of his 15 break points and will rue a missed opportunity to become the first American male to reach a Grand Slam quarterfinal for two years.

“It was an epic match that’s all I can say, I gave everything out there on the court today,” the 23-year-old said. “I’m proud of the way I fought.

“I’m overwhelmed. It’s too good to be true. I knew it was going to be physical, and I knew I had to be patient and in the end it paid off.”

Medvedev rails at bathroom break rule

Australian Open favourite Daniil Medvedev labelled the tennis tour’s bathroom break rule as “stupid” after rowing with the chair umpire about freshening up during his sweaty fourth round win over Maxime Cressy on Monday.

Daniil Medvedev of Russia argues with the chair umpire during his fourth round match against Maxime Cressy of the US. (AP)
Daniil Medvedev of Russia argues with the chair umpire during his fourth round match against Maxime Cressy of the US. (AP)

Russian Medvedev barked at French chair umpire Renaud Lichtenstein over the recently updated rule which limits players to a maximum of three minutes off the court, with an additional two if they opt for a change of clothes.

After closing out a tough 6-2 7-6(4) 6-7(4) 7-5 win over American Cressy on a sweltering day at Margaret Court Arena, the second seed said players needed more leeway to freshen up on days of extreme heat.

“The thing is that I know that in the 35 (degree) heat, when you’re playing in the sun, I’m going to want to change after two sets because you’re going to get wet,” he told reporters.

“I’m going to want to change my shorts, underneath my shorts, my socks, my shoes. You need like a good four minutes to do it, and my body wanted to pee after the first set.

“So I don’t see any logic in these rules, so hence I can call this stupid.”

edvedev, runner-up to Djokovic last year, will play Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime, who beat Croat Marin Cilic in four sets, for a place in the semifinals.

Kanepi stuns Sabalenka

Estonia’s Kaia Kanepi rallied from a set down to topple world number two Aryna Sabalenka 5-7 6-2 7-6 (10) on Margaret Court Arena in a tight contest on Monday to reach the Australian Open quarterfinals for the first time.

Estonia's Kaia Kanepi hits a return against Belarus' Aryna Sabalenka. (AFP)
Estonia's Kaia Kanepi hits a return against Belarus' Aryna Sabalenka. (AFP)

Having surrendered the opening set for three matches in a row, Sabalenka took a one-set lead for the first time in Melbourne but was unable to build on it as her serving issues resurfaced once again.

Kanepi will take on Polish seventh seed Iga Swiatek, who beat Sorana Cirstea 5-7 6-3 6-3 earlier on Monday, for a place in the last four.

Sizzling Sinner

Jannik Sinner raised the Italian flag high over Melbourne Park on Monday, knocking out home hope Alex de Minaur 7-6(3) 6-3 6-4 to join compatriot Matteo Berrettini in the Australian Open quarterfinals.

It is the first time since Paolo Bertolucci and Adriano Panatta at Roland Garros in 1973 that two Italian men have reached the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam.

Jannik Sinner of Italy reacts after winning a point against Alex de Minaur of Australia. (AP)
Jannik Sinner of Italy reacts after winning a point against Alex de Minaur of Australia. (AP)

Sinner, who also reached the last eight at the French Open in 2020, played superbly in a high quality match at Rod Laver Arena, taking control after the first set tiebreak.

Results (Monday)

Men’s singles 4th round

Jannik Sinner (ITA x11) bt Alex De Minaur (AUS x32) 7-6 (7/3), 6-3, 6-4

Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE x4) bt Taylor Fritz (USA x20) 4-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4

Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN x9) bt Marin Cilic (CRO x27) 2-6, 7-6 (9/7), 6-2, 7-6 (7/4)

Daniil Medvedev (RUS x2) bt Maxime Cressy (USA) 6-2, 7-6 (7/4), 6-7 (4/7), 7-5

Women’s singles 4th round

Danielle Collins (USA x27) bt Elise Mertens (BEL x19) 4-6, 6-4, 6-4

Alize Cornet (FRA) bt Simona Halep (ROM x14) 6-4, 3-6, 6-4

Iga Swiatek (POL x7) bt Sorana Cirstea (ROM) 5-7, 6-3, 6-3

Kaia Kanepi (EST) bt Aryna Sabalenka (BLR x2) 5-7, 6-2, 7-6 (10/7)


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