Medvedev Overcomes Kyrgios, Moves into Australian Open Third Round

Medvedev Overcomes Kyrgios, Moves into Australian Open Third Round Photo: TT
Daniil Medvedev in action during the 2019 US Open. Photo Credit: ID 157884153 © Zhukovsky | Dreamstime.com.

The second seed mastered his game to remain unbeaten in his quest for a second Grand Slam title. The Russian defeated home favorite Nick Kyrgios, who ignited the spectators, fighting across a thrilling four-setter.

It was the match of the day; the clash everyone was eager to see at the Rod Laver Arena, one unlike any other, thanks to local player Nick Kyrgios, who put up a show and great effort, to try to beat the world number two for the third time in his career.

An achievement denied by a nearly flawless Daniil Medvedev, unbothered by a crowd on fire. With the focus on his game, he mastered it, physically and mentally, showing why he is a strong contender for the title after an impressive tennis display on Thursday night.

The reigning U.S. Open champion edged the World No. 115 in four sets 7-6(1), 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 after two hours and 58 minutes.

In his on-court interview, Medvedev said: “I came to win this match, and I am happy I managed to do it. It was a funny match because we both served big. In the second and fourth sets, I managed to return a little bit more at the crucial moments.”

The 25-year-old remarked: “I just want to play my best, hit good shots, and hopefully, that will be enough to do something big.”

A Blockbuster in Melbourne

The 13-time ATP titlist was tested in a tight opener as Kyrgios fired his powerful serve to get the party started.

The 26-year-old went on to create two break point opportunities over his adversary’s serve, which he would fail to convert while his rival took on his chances, opening a 3-1 advantage as he produced an early break in the third game of the first set.

However, the Aussie regrouped quickly, narrowing the gap to level up the tie at 4-4, a parity that resulted in a tiebreak.

In the ninth game, the Russian player lost a breakpoint opportunity though he still managed to prevail 7-1 after an hour and two minutes on court.

In an equally hard-fought second set, the pressure continued to build up; Gilles Cervara pupil hold at 5-4, following to convert a breakpoint in the eighth game taking victory in 44 minutes.

The third set saw Kyrgios earning a crucial break in the seventh game to take the lead 4-3 and never look back, featuring an underarm serve and a drop shot over the net to close out in 37 minutes with a standing ovation from the fans.

Time for the fourth set, a euphoric crowd in the stands sees Medvedev keeping it cool under pressure.

The Davis Cup champion opened a 4-2 lead, dominating the encounter, producing three breakpoints (4th, 6th, and 8th game), sealing the triumph.

He hit 68 winners (31 aces), winning 85 percent of his first-serve points, 50 percent with his second, recording 29 unforced errors and five double faults.

I felt like I was returning really well today, and yet to break him, it was really tough. But this kind of matches, first, second, third round of a slam, it’s a big challenge where if you make it, you [say], okay, if I can continue playing like this, I can go far,” Medvedev added.

For his part, Kyrgios fired 47 winners (17 aces), 31 unforced errors, and two double faults.

In his post-match press conference, he outlined: “I thought the atmosphere was awesome. That’s what sport is. You’ve got the most entertaining player playing in his home slam on Rod Laver. You’d expect the crowd to be like that. I can understand it’s a gentleman’s game, but it’s about time that people embraced some sort of different energy in this sport otherwise it will die out. It’s just that simple.”

The Aussie is out of the singles competition; next, a scheduled appointment with fellow countryman Thanasi Kokkinakis awaits him, as the wildcard pairing will meet top seeds Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic on Friday to play men’s doubles.

Also, on Friday, Medvedev - who reached the third round of the AO for the fourth consecutive time, will face World No. 57, Botic Van de Zandschulp, the first Dutchman in the third round of the Grand Slam since 2011.

The 26-year-old received a walkover when Frenchman, Richard Gasquet, withdrew in the third set of their second-round match, with Van de Zandschulp leading 4-6, 6-0, 4-0.

Gasquet, 35, tested positive for Covid-19 ahead of the first major of the season, undergoing quarantine, which impacted his preparation for the event.

The Moscow native leads their Head2Head series 1-0. The last time they met was in 2021 when the Russian toppled Van de Zandschulp in the quarter-finals of the U.S. Open in New York, which eventually Medvedev won.

Cecilia demartini
Sports Pundit staff writer @ceci_2812
Cecilia is a writer and a journalist passionate about sports, particularly motorsport, tennis, and soccer

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