Por Sudipto Ganguly
MELBOURNE, Jan 20 (Reuters) – World number two Daniil Medvedev of Russia ended Nick Kyrgios’ show at this year’s Australian Open on Thursday, dispatching the volatile local hope 7-6 (1). , 6-4, 4-6 and 6-2 to reach the third round.
The crowd that filled 50% of the Rod Laver Arena court cheered on every point from Kyrgios, but despite everything, the Australian could not overcome the champion of the US Open, who showed nerves of steel.
An inspired Kyrgios forced a break of serve in the third set to take the match into the fourth set, but Medvedev – the highest-ranked male player remaining after Novak Djokovic’s dismissal – soon regained control.
A double ‘break’ in the fourth set facilitated the triumph of last year’s Australian Open finalist, who will now face Dutchman Botic van de Zandschulp, ranked number 57, for a place in the fourth round.
“I came to win this match and I’m glad I did,” Medvedev said. “It’s not easy when you get booed between the first and second serves. I had to keep my cool.”
In another of the highlights of the day, the world number four, Stefanos Tsitsipas, had to work hard to beat the 21-year-old Argentine Sebastián Báez 7-6(1), 6-7,(5) 6-3 and 6-4 and move on to the third round.
In the first matchup between the two former junior world number ones, Tsitsipas -a two-time semifinalist in Australia- quickly took control, but Báez -88 in the world and making his Grand Slam debut- began to demonstrate the reasons for his accelerated rise.
“It wasn’t easy. I’m happy I got over this hurdle today,” Tsitsipas said on court. “A lot of fighting and some swearing, but I’m happy to be in the third round. It was very hot today in the match, but I tried to play with heart and it worked out in the end.”
Báez’s big forehand, who won six Challengers in 2021, complicated Tsitsipas, but the 23-year-old Greek eventually found solutions and broke his opponent’s serve three times in the third and fourth sets to win the match at Margaret Court Arena .
“He’s a great player,” said the Greek, adding that he put “something else” into his shots in the third and fourth sets. “I wish him the best … one of the best forehands I’ve ever faced so hopefully with the right work and mindset he can achieve his goals.”
Ultimately, Andy Murray lost a 6-4 treble to Japan’s Taro Daniel, prompting the 34-year-old Scotsman to say he may not return to Australia next season if his results don’t live up to his expectations.
“I’m very, very disappointed. Very frustrated. A tough loss for me, no doubt,” he said after falling to the world number 120. “I made too many mistakes today. I wasn’t able to turn him around, but he was definitely solid. He moved well and deserved to win.”
(Edited in Spanish by Carlos Serrano)