Morning Sun

Medvedev withstands Kyrgios, crowd to advance

- By John Pye

Daniil Medvedev faced a hostile crowd and a full array of Nick Kyrgios’ outbursts and tricks, and still remained calm for long enough to reach the third round at the Australian Open.

The 115th-ranked Kyrgios worked up the crowd, hit ‘tweeners and drop shots, mixed up the pace of his groundstro­kes and tossed in an under-arm serve in a bid to ruffle the second-ranked Russian.

Medvedev kept his composure, taking 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 Thursday on a rowdy Rod Laver Arena.

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

“That’s the only choice when you get booed between first and second serve,” he said, triggering some boos from the crowd.

Kyrgios usually likes to play on John Cain Arena, known locally as the People’s Court because fans with ground passes can get in and the singing and chanting can get wild.

He managed to turn the alltickete­d stadium court into something more akin to a soccer stadium.

In the seventh game of the third set, Kyrgios got two break-point chances when he bunted away a backhand from Medvedev directed at his body and then took off on a circular run behind the baseline to celebrate like he’d scored a goal.

When he converted the break, he danced in the change-over and worked up the crowd. Medvedev lowered the volume with two service breaks in the fourth set to beat the talented but erratic Kyrgios for the first time in three attempts. He served 31 aces to 17 for the Aussie, and converted four of his 11 breakpoint chances while saving seven of nine on his own serve.

Told later that he may have

misheard the boos, and that Kyrgios’ supporters were mimicking the “siiiuuu” sound that soccer fans yell when Cristiano Ronaldo scores goals, Medvedev said still “it’s not easy to play against the crowd.”

“But they stay as fun matches afterwards because in the end, yeah, we gave the crowd a big show,” he said. “Probably Nick more, because, well, he’s a big entertaine­r.

“I think it was a great match to watch. Already got a lot of messages, not just congratula­tions like usual, but like, ‘Wow, what a match!’”

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

He’s the quasi No. 1 now, anyway, because Djokovic was deported 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 routine run, with fourthseed­ed Stefanos Tsitsipas beating Sebastian Baez 7-6 (1), 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-4.

Other second-round winners among the men included No. 5 Andrey Rublev, No. 15 Roberto Bautista Agut, No. 20 Taylor Fritz, 2014 U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic and No. 32 Alex de Minaur. Australian wildcard entry Chris O’connell upset 13th-seeded Diego Schwartzma­n 7-6 (6), 6-4, 6-4.

Five-time runner-up Andy Murray only lasted two rounds. Two days after winning his first match at the Australian Open in five years, the former No. 1 lost

to 120th-ranked Taro Daniel 6-4, 6-4, 6-4.

There were plenty of surprises in the women’s draw on Day 4, with No. 3 Garbiñe Muguruza the highestsee­ded player to exit only minutes after No. 6 Anett Kontaveit lost.

U.S. Open champion Emma Raducanu lost a night match to Danka Kovinic 6-4, 4-6, 6-3. Kovinic has reached the third round of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time and will next play two-time major champion Simona Halep.

Raducanu needed treatment for blisters on her right hand two nights after her first-round win over 2017 U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens. The blisters, on top of a recent bout of the coronaviru­s, had some people in her team convinced the 19-yearold Raducanu shouldn’t play.

 ?? HAMISH BLAIR — THE ASSOCIATED PRESS ?? Daniil Medvedev of Russia gestures after defeating Nick Kyrgios of Australia in their second round match at the Australian Open tennis championsh­ips in Melbourne, Australia, on Thursday.
HAMISH BLAIR — THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Daniil Medvedev of Russia gestures after defeating Nick Kyrgios of Australia in their second round match at the Australian Open tennis championsh­ips in Melbourne, Australia, on Thursday.

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