Medvedev wins over Australian Open crowd in straight-set victory

Russia's Daniil Medvedev celebrates after victory against Netherlands' Botic Van de Zandschulp. (AFP)
Russia's Daniil Medvedev celebrates after victory against Netherlands' Botic Van de Zandschulp. (AFP)

The Russian was unhappy with the behaviour of some of the spectators in his previous match, saying afterwards: "People who are doing it probably have a low IQ"


Published: Sat 22 Jan 2022, 12:27 PM

Last updated: Sat 22 Jan 2022, 12:45 PM

Russian title favourite Daniil Medvedev cruised into the fourth round at the Australian Open with an unruffled straight-sets victory over Dutchman Botic van de Zandschulp on Saturday.

In sweltering conditions, the world number two won 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 in 1hr 55min to reach the last 16 for the fourth straight year in Melbourne.

Medvedev, coming off his high-octane win over home favourite Nick Kyrgios two days ago, could face either another Australian Chris O'Connell or American Maxime Cressy in the fourth round.

"I was hoping you were going to be a little bit easier on me you guys," Medvedev joked to the crowd, after he was booed by sections of the pro-Kyrgios crowd on Thursday.

"I'll put it this way, it's easier to play a guy from the Netherlands than a guy from Australia in Australia in Melbourne.

"Every good relationship must have its ups and downs so I think it's good, it's entertaining and it's real, there is some relationship going on."

The Russian 25-year-old was unhappy with the behaviour of some of the spectators in the stormy Kyrgios match, saying afterwards: "It's not everybody doing it but people who are doing it probably have a low IQ."

Medvedev broke in the third game and fought off a break point while serving out for the opening set.

The Russian broke again in the third game and held the break to take a two sets lead, tightening his grip on the match.

Medvedev was easing through the gears and grabbed another service in the fifth game of the third set with the finish line fast approaching.

A blistering return gave Medvedev a double break and served out for a comfortable win.

Medvedev, runner-up a year ago, is the title favourite in the absence of deported defending champion Novak Djokovic and is looking for back-to-back Grand Slam crowns after beating the Serb in the US Open final.

Tsitsipas wins

World number four Stefanos Tsitsipas did not drop a service game, despite losing a set, as he overcame Benoit Paire to reach the fourth round on Saturday.

The Greek seemed on course for a straight-sets win, but decisively lost a tiebreak to the Frenchman before going on to see out victory 6-3, 7-5, 6-7 (2/7), 6-4 in 2hr 42min on a steamy Rod Laver Arena.

Tsitsipas will face Taylor Fritz for a place in the quarter-finals after the American overcame Spanish 15th seed Roberto Bautista Agut 6-0, 3-6, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3.

Tsitsipas has now reached the last 16 for the third time in five trips to Melbourne.

"I'm pretty glad with the win. Benoit is one of the biggest talents in our game, he has a lot of feel for the game," Tsitsipas said of his French opponent, who is ranked 56th in the world.

"It was a very important victory for me today and also very special to be playing on this arena and sharing that with the crowd."

Tsitsipas served strongly with 21 aces and won 89 percent of his first serve points along with 47 winners and 26 unforced errors.

It was his fourth victory in five meetings with Paire, but his first over him at a major.

Tsitsipas, a two-time semifinalist in Melbourne, became the first Greek player to reach a Grand Slam final when he lost to Novak Djokovic in last year's French Open final after leading by two sets.

He also holds the distinction of beating both Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer on his way to his two previous semifinal appearances at the Australian Open.

Sabalenka survives

Aryna Sabalenka says she tried to "stop thinking" about her serve on Saturday and it worked well with the world number two's woeful double fault count improving as she stayed in contention at the Australian Open.

The Belarusian had tallied 31 double faults in two matches at Melbourne Park so far, and 70 from four matches this season, but only suffered 10 against Marketa Vondrousova on Margaret Court Arena.

It helped her beat the Czech 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 and ensure passage to the last 16 where she will meet unseeded Estonian veteran Kaia Kanepi who overpowered Australian wildcard Madison Inglis 2-6, 6-2, 6-0.

"I was just trying to not really focus on my serve. Just trying to forget about my serve, and that's was working today," said Sabalenka, a semifinalist last year at both Wimbledon and the US Open.

"I think it's more mental, because I put a lot of pressure on myself about my serve, and the last matches I was trying to control everything on my serve -- my legs, my arm, the ball toss. And it was overthinking.

"I just stopped thinking. Like today, I was focusing only on the good jump and that's it."

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