Australian Open 2022: Medvedev thwarts Kyrgios, the crowd

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Daniil Medvedev of Russia and Nick Kyrgios of Australia shake hands after their match on day four of the Australian Open 2022

Strong points

  • Medvedev beat Kyrgios 7-6(1), 6-4, 4-6, 6-2.
  • With this victory, he advances to the third round of the Australian Open 2022.
  • Medvedev won the US Open last year.

Daniil Medvedev faced a hostile crowd and a full range of explosions and spins from Nick Kyrgios and remained calm long enough to reach the third round of the Australian Open.

Kyrgios, ranked 115th, got the crowd going, hitting tweens and dropshots, mixing up the rhythm of his groundstrokes and throwing an underarm serve in an effort to ruffle the second-ranked Russian.

Medvedev kept his composure, making a quick trip to the locker room after losing the third set and recovering to win 7-6(1), 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 on Thursday over a rowdy Rod Laver Arena.

In an on-court television interview with former champion Jim Courier, Medvedev was asked how he managed to stay so calm.

“It’s the only choice when you get booed between first and second serve,” he said, prompting some boos from the crowd. “It’s not easy. The (service) games I lost, on break points, it was. It’s hard to play.”

Kyrgios generally likes to play at the John Cain Arena, known locally as People’s Court, as fans with floor passes can enter and the chanting and chanting is always less restricted than the two main show grounds.

He managed to transform the pitch of the stadium at all tickets into something more like a football stadium.

In game seven of the third set, Kyrgios got two break point chances when he landed a backhand from Medvedev aimed at his body and then took off on a circular run behind the baseline to celebrate as if he had score a goal.

When he converted the break, he danced into the change and got the crowd going. Medvedev managed to bring the volume down with two breakouts in the fourth set.

It was Medvedev’s first win against Kyrgios after two defeats in 2019.

And there were cheers later when Courier suggested a new crowd favorite for the rest of the tournament.

Medvedev was the runner-up last year but avenged that loss by beating Novak Djokovic in the US Open final.

He’s the near No.1 now, anyway, as Djokovic was sent off on the eve of the tournament for failing to meet Australia’s strict COVID-19 vaccination regulations.

Another contender in his half of the draw had a more routine run to round three, fourth-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas beating Sebastian Baez 7-6(1), 6-7(5), 6-3 , 6-4 in a game featuring two top-ranked former junior players.

Five-timer Andy Murray lasted just two rounds. Two days after winning his first match at the Australian Open in five years, the former No.
1 lost to Taro Daniel, 120th, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4.

Other winners among the men included No. 5 Andrey Rublev, No. 15 Roberto Bautista Agut, No. 20 Taylor Fritz, 2014 USOpen champion Marin Cilic and No. 32 Alex de Minaur. supposed to face in the second round, Arthur Rinderknech, out injured in the wrist.

Australian wild-card entry Chris O’Connell upset 13th-seeded Diego Schwartzman 7-6(6), 6-4, 6-4.

There were upsets in the women’s draw on matchday four, with No.3 Garbiñe Muguruza becoming the highest-ranked player to emerge just minutes after losing No.6 Anett Kontaveit. USOpen champion Emma Raducanu lost to Danka Kovinic 6-4, 4-6, 6-3.

Second-seeded Aryna Sabalenka double-faulted nine in her first two service games, 12 in the opening set and appeared to be on the verge of a second-round loss before recovering to hold off 100th-seeded Wang Xinyu -6, 6 -4, 6-2.

She will next face 31st seeded Marketa Vondrousova, a 2019 Roland Garros finalist who beat Liudmila Samsonova 6-2, 7-5.

WTA Finals runner-up Kontaveit lost to 19-year-old Clara Tauson 6-2, 6-3. Tauson will make her third-round debut at a major tournament against 2019 Australian Open semi-finalist Danielle Collins.

No. 7 Iga Swiatek, the 2020 French Open champion, No. 19 Elise Mertens and Sorana Cirstea were among the other women who made progress. China’s Zhang Shuai advanced to the third round when 12th-placed Elena Rybakina retired from her match leading 6-4, 1-0. Sam Stosur’s 6-2, 6-2 loss to No.
10 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova ended the 2011 US Open champion’s 20th and final singles campaign at the Australian Open.

Muguruza never managed to earn a single break point and committed 33 unforced errors, more than double his opponent’s tally, in a 6-3, 6-3 loss to Alize Cornet.

“A little surprised at my level. I’m a bit disappointed too,” said Muguruza, a two-time major champion and 2020 Australian Open runner-up who won the season-ending WTA Finals last year.

And the Cornet ranked 61st? She is playing in her 63rd career major – and 60th in a row – but has never made it past the fourth round.

Cornet will have a chance to match that performance when she faces Tamara Zidansek on Saturday, her 32nd birthday. She said she was “a bit (of) a dinosaur”.

“I don’t know how many years I have left,” Cornet said. “Today was the perfect gift I could give myself and I really hope the journey goes even further for me.”


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