Daniil Medvedev: Winning the crowd at the Australian Open

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As Daniil Medvedev sat pitchside trying to rehydrate during a change, an image of nine-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic flashed in the stadium behind him.

It was in the third set on Saturday, and it felt like the absent No.1 was looking over the shoulder of the player who is effectively the No.1 seed in the first Grand Slam tournament of the year.

Medvedev, who lost the Australian Open final last year to Djokovic but got revenge with a victory over the Serbian for the US Open title, reached the fourth round for the fourth consecutive year at Melbourne Park with a 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 win over Botic van de Zandschulp. The 25-year-old Russian was also a fan favorite at the Margaret Court Arena, two days after he was disturbed by boos and jeers from a church crowd on the Rod Laver Arena when he ended the run of the ‘Aussie Mercurial Nick Kyrgios.

He criticized a lack of respect in this match – mainly over the noise between first and second serves – and this time offered relationship advice to the crowd.

“Any good relationship has to have its ups and downs,” he said during his on-pitch TV interview, explaining that he plans to return to the pitch quite often in the future. “I hope there will be more good times than bad times, otherwise it doesn’t work.” Medvedev later clarified he had no problem with Australian crowds and expected to have them against him when he played against Kyrgios – but not while he was in his service motion .

“The other night I was playing an Australian player, a very electric Australian player,” he said. “After the game, I think it was, yeah, straight away pretty fun for everyone.

“That’s how I felt, and I didn’t see a lot of reactions, let’s say negative.”

Medvedev avoided a confrontation with Djokovic after the world’s top-ranked player had his visa canceled and was expelled on the eve of the tournament for failing to meet Australia‘s strict Covid-19 vaccination criteria.

HALEP FIRES WARNING

Simona Halep, back to form, said she was ‘in a good position’ and felt no pressure as she leveled up to crush the dreams of Emma Raducanu’s conqueror Danka Kovinic, and reach the round of 16.

The two-time Grand Slam winner drew on all her experience to sweep the 98th-seeded Montenegrin 6-2, 6-1 and secure her Week 2 appearance for a fifth consecutive year in Melbourne.

She will now face French veteran Alize Cornet, who celebrated her 32nd birthday by beating 29th seed Tamara Zidansek 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 following her stunning upset against world number three Garbine Muguruza. in the second round.

Romania’s Halep is on her way back after a calf tear scuttled her mid-season in 2021 and saw her briefly fall outside the top 20 for the first time since 2013.


CONFUSED TSITSIPAS BAT PAIR


Stefanos Tsitsipas held off the incendiary Benoit Paire to reach the fourth round after a tough 6-3 7-5 6-7(2) 6-4, but he was unaware he had won after converting match point. Paire dove a forehand into the net on the first of three match points on a scorching afternoon at Rod Laver Arena, but fourth-seeded Tsitsipas headed downfield rather than approaching the net as fans cheered on the terraces. The Greek turned on his heels with surprise on his face as the result was announced over the loudspeaker by the chair umpire. He then raced forward to recognize Paire before bounding around the pitch with an appropriate celebration.


CIL STUNS RUBLEV


Former runner-up Marin Cilic ended the hopes of fifth-seeded Andrey Rublev with an upset victory in four sets to reach the fourth round.

The experienced Croatian, seeded 27, eliminated the Russian 7-5, 7-6 (7/3), 3-6, 6-3 in 2:36 at Margaret Court Arena to book a place in the round of 16. The eighth time for Cilic, 33, in the fourth round of the Australian Open, where he was beaten runner-up by Roger Federer in 2018 after beating Rafael Nadal in the quarter-finals.

Cilic will face Canada’s ninth seed Felix Auger Aliassime for a spot in the quarter-finals.

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