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Daniil Medvedev wins over Australian Open fans, reaches round 4 – San Bernardino Sun

By JOHN PYE Writer AP Sports

MELBOURNE, Australia – As Daniil Medvedev sat by the court trying to regenerate water during a shirt change, an image of nine-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic emerged in the stadium behind him.

It was in the seventh third set, and it was like the absent No. 1 was looking over the shoulder of the top-seeded player at the first Grand Slam of the year.

Medvedev, who lost last year’s Australian Open final to Djokovic but avenged it with a win over Serb to claim the US Open title, reached the fourth round for a fourth straight year at Melbourne Park with a scoreline. 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 win against Botic van de Zandschulp.

The 25-year-old Russian tennis player is also a fan favorite at Margaret Court Arena, two days after being unsettled by boos and taunts from a crowd of parishioners in the stadium. Rod Laver Arena as he finishes poor Aussie Nick Kyrgios’ run.

He criticized the lack of respect during that game – mainly about the rowdy between first and second serves – and this time offered some advice on relation to the crowd.

“Every good relationship has its ups and downs,” he said in a televised court interview, explaining that he plans to return to court quite often in the future. “I hope it’s going to be a good time rather than a bad time, otherwise it just won’t work.”

Medvedev later made clear that he has no problem with the Australian crowd and fully expects to get them against him when he plays Kyrgios – just not while he is on his service. me.

“The other night I was playing against an Australian player, an Australian player playing video games,” he said. “After the game, I thought it was, yeah, right away, it was really exciting for everyone.

“That’s how I feel, and I don’t really see much of a negative reaction.”

Medvedev avoided a match with Djokovic after the world’s top tennis player had his visa canceled and deported shortly before the tournament for not meeting Australia’s strict COVID-19 vaccination criteria.

He also avoided another match against an Australian in the fourth round when wild card entry Chris O’Connell lost to former UCLA standout player Maxime Cressy, 6-2, 6-7 (6), 6-3, 6-2.

Cressy’s win means that two 24-year-old Americans will reach the fourth round of a professional tournament for the first time.

The 70th-ranked Cressy, who won the 2019 NCAA while playing at UCLA, in his fourth Grand Slam. Taylor Fritz, who placed 20th, finally made it on his 22nd attempt, with a 6-0, 3-6, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 win over Roberto Bautista Agut No. 15, and says it “means the above.”

“I mean, it’s huge. Like after that game, I almost wanted to shed a few tears,” said San Diego native Fritz. “That seems stupid, because so many people have done the second week of the Competition but it feels like it has eluded me for so long.

“I never doubted it would happen,” he added, “but I’m sure, definitely sick of playing, you know, a top four player who always has a chance.”

Next, Fritz will face fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, runner-up at the French Open and semi-finalist in Australia last year, who beat Benoit Paire, 6-3, 7-5, 6-7 ( 2), 6-4.

No. 9 Felix Auger-Aliassime progressed with a 6-4, 6-1, 6-1 victory over No. 24 Dan Evans, winning 14 of the last 16 matches.

On the women’s side, two-time Grand Slam champion Simona Halep will enter Week 2 at Melbourne Park for the fifth year in a row following a 6-2, 6-1 win over Danka Kovinic.

She will be joined in week two by second seed Aryna Sabalenka, who advanced with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 win over 31 Marketa Vondrousova.

One contender for the No. 1 spot – Sabalenka could potentially overtake Ash Barty depending on the outcome here – the 23-year-old from Belarus admitted her serve was still in progress.

The match started off ominously as Sabalenka made two double errors and broke serve in the first game.

But unlike the previous round, when she made nine double errors in her first two friendlies and 19 in the match, last year’s semi-finalist at Wimbledon and the US Open has nearly halved the stats. that’s clear.

“I’m really happy right now,” Sabalenka said, laughing, during her court television interview. “I’m glad I only made 10 double mistakes.”

That’s what she’ll do before her next game against Kaia Kanepi, the 115th, who has reached the quarterfinals six times at Grand Slams – but only once since 2013 and never in Australia. .

14th seed Halep struggled a bit against Kovinic, who is ranked 98th and knocked out US Open champion Emma Raducanu in the previous round. This was the first time Kovinic appeared in the third round of a major tournament.

In contrast, Halep can count on plenty of experience in the latter stages of the sport’s biggest events. She won the French Open in 2018 and Wimbledon in 2019 and reached the final of the 2018 Australian Open before losing to Caroline Wozniacki.

“I feel good, I feel more confident now because last year was a tough year,” Halep said. “So now I just enjoy playing tennis, I’m happy.”

No other player left in the women’s draw has won as many tour-level titles as Halep’s 23.

Halep’s next opponent will be Alize Cornet, who celebrated her 32nd birthday with a 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 victory over No. 29 Tamara Zidansek, a French Open semi-finalist. year 2021.

Cornet followed up on her disappointment at number three Garbiñe Muguruza by reaching the fourth round at the Australian Open for the first time since 2009.

Alize Cornet stood in the middle of the stands at Margaret Court Arena waving to the singing fans and patting hearts after her game. While the experienced French tennis player was emotional to be proposed on her birthday, she preferred her own gift – the Grand Slam quarterfinal hit on last year’s tour could is hers.

Cornet, whose match lasted 2 hours and 43 minutes on the hottest day of the tournament to date, recalls how she got a match point before losing to the finalist Dinara Safina of Russia on her last run. It’s in the fourth round.

“I think that’s why we all keep playing and keep pushing ourselves because we’re so addicted to these feelings, this joy right after the game is over,” said Cornet. “It was amazing. To start the new year in this way definitely makes me want to play some more tennis.”

In another third-round match that ended Saturday afternoon, 27th-seeded American Danielle Collins, a two-time NCAA champion at the University of Virginia, regrouped from a set and defeated 19-year-old Clara Tauson. , with a score of 4-6. , 6-4, 7-5.

Next, Collins will meet number 19 Elise Mertens, who made it 6-2, 6-2, over Zhang Shuai.

KYRGIOS CONFRONTATION

Nick Kyrgios claims he was threatened in the players’ gym at Melbourne Park after he and Thanasi Kokkinakis disturbed Croatia’s top seed pair Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic during a doubles match in London. second round in front of a rowdy home audience on Friday.

The Australians won the match 7-6 (8), 6-3 and the teams shook hands on the net.

The trouble started, according to Kyrgios, when a member of the support team approached him after the match.

“Just to let you know that after yesterday’s doubles match, my opponent’s coach and coach made a threat to fight in the players’ gym… tennis is a light sport. soft… all because I moved and hit them with a tennis ball,” Kyrgios wrote Saturday on Twitter.

Kokkinakis, describing it in a social media post, said “That’s crazy!!” and joked that it was like the UFC.

SWEET DREAMS

What’s the first priority for Adrian Mannarino ahead of his fourth-round match against 20-time champion Rafael Nadal?

Sleep.

The French left-hander didn’t go to bed until near dawn on Saturday after a belated victory that ensured his best Grand Slam result.

Mannarino ranked 69th ended the third half lasting 4 hours 38 minutes with a score of 7-6 (4), 6-7 (4), 7-5, 6-4 against 18th seed Aslan Karatsev. , Australian Open 2021 semi-finalist, at 2:33am local time in Melbourne.

“Honestly, I don’t feel well. I’m almost exhausted right now, but that’s great,” Mannarino said in a post-match interview. “I was very focused on what I had to do. I didn’t think about the fact that I was tired. I said, “Okay, let’s go to the next point.”

Even at closing time, there were a number of vocal fans at Margaret Court Arena.

“The crowd was great. My guess is that some people have had a few drinks and they are commenting,” Mannarino noted.

Nadal advanced with a 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-1 victory over another Russian, No. 28 Karen Khachanov, around midnight Friday at Rod Laver Arena.

“It’s 3 a.m. now, I don’t really care who I play next,” Mannarino said. “Is the last thing I will think about. I just want to enjoy the moment right now.”

https://www.sbsun.com/2022/01/22/daniil-medvedev-wins-over-australian-open-fans-rolls-into-4th-round/ Daniil Medvedev wins over Australian Open fans, reaches round 4 – San Bernardino Sun

Tom Vazquez

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