Daniil Medvedev tamed Nick Kyrgios to surge into the Australian Open third round yesterday and avoid joining Garbine Muguruza and Emma Raducanu on the list of high-profile casualties. Also out on a day of shocks was former world number one Andy Murray, losing to Japanese qualifier Taro Daniel in straight sets, as the Grand Slam roared into life on day four.
Second seed Medvedev is the highest seed left in the men’s draw and the favourite after the deportation of reigning champion Novak Djokovic on the eve of the tournament. But the 25-year-old Russian faced a stern test of his title credentials — and temperament — in the face of an unpredictable but talented Kyrgios, who revved up the home crowd in their prime-time evening showdown.
The 26-year-old Australian beat Medvedev, the reigning US Open champion and last year’s losing finalist in Melbourne, in their only two previous clashes. It was a madhouse inside Rod Laver Arena with showman Kyrgios dealing out all his assortment of unplayable serves and tweeners before a partisan home crowd, while embroiled in a running battle with the chair umpire.
But calculating Medvedev dealt with it all to ease through 7-6 (7/1), 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 and will now face Dutchman Botic van de Zandschulp in the third round. Medvedev was not happy with some of the antics of the crowd. “I came to win this match and I am happy that I was able to do so,” he said. “It’s not your choice when you get booed between first and second serves, it’s not easy, I just had to stay calm.”
Greek fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, chasing a maiden major, also fought his way through 7-6 (7/1), 6-7 (5/7), 6-3, 6-4 over former world number one junior Sebastian Baez of Argentina. “I’m glad I overcame that obstacle today. Lots of fighting, a little bit of swearing, but I’m glad to be in the third round,” said Tsitsipas, who is next up against the talented but moody Frenchman Benoit Paire.
There was to be no fairytale run for Britain’s three-time major champion Murray, going down 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 to 120th-ranked Daniel, who moves into the third round of a Slam for the first time. The 34-year-old Murray, who had career-saving hip surgery in 2019 and thought that he may never return to the Australian Open, appeared weary after emerging from a five-set epic in the first round.
Safely through round two was fifth seed Andrey Rublev, who will now face Marin Cilic, the 27th seed from Croatia who lost the 2018 Australian Open final to Roger Federer. Australian wildcard Chris O’Connell pulled off an upset with a straight-sets win over 13th seed Diego Schwartzman of Argentina.
There were more shocks in the women’s draw, with third seed Muguruza, US Open champion Raducanu and sixth seed Anett Kontaveit all suffering upsets. The 19-year-old Raducanu, the 17th seed but making her debut in Melbourne, struggled with blisters on her serving hand as Montenegro’s Danka Kovinic defeated the Briton 6-4, 4-6, 6-3. WTA Finals winner Muguruza is also out, losing 6-3, 6-3 to 61st-ranked veteran Alize Cornet. “I am a bit of a dinosaur on the tour,” said Cornet, who turns 32 tomorrow.
Kontaveit, seen by many as a serious title contender after a breakout 2021, committed 27 unforced errors as she was stunned 6-2, 6-4 by fast-rising Danish teenager Clara Tauson. But second seed Aryna Sabalenka lives to fight another day, just, after coming from a set down for the second successive match to beat China’s world No. 100 Wang Xinyu. The Belarusian has struggled with her serve since arriving in Australia and totted up 19 double faults before managing to drag herself through 1-6, 6-4, 6-2.
Second round results
Men’s singles: Pablo Andujar (ESP) bt Alex Molcan (SVK) 6-4, 7-6 (8/6), 0-6, 6-1; Alex De Minaur (AUS x32) bt Kamil Majchrzak (POL) 6-4, 6-4, 6-2; Taro Daniel (JPN) bt Andy Murray (SCO) 6-4, 6-4, 6-4; Jannik Sinner (ITA x11) bt Steve Johnson (USA) 6-2, 6-4, 6-3; Roberto Bautista (ESP x15) bt Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) 6-1, 6-0, 6-3; Taylor Fritz (USA x20) bt Frances Tiafoe (USA) 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (7/5); Benoit Paire (FRA) bt Grigor Dimitrov (BUL x26) 6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (4/7), 7-6 (7/2); Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE x4) bt Sebastian Baez (ARG) 7-6 (7/1), 6-7 (5/7), 6-3, 6-4; Andrey Rublev (RUS x5) bt Ricardas Berankis (LTU) 6-4, 6-2, 6-0; Marin Cilic (CRO x27) bt Norbert Gombos (SVK) 6-2, 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (8/6); Dan Evans (GBR x24) bt Arthur Rinderknech (FRA) walkover; Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN x9) bt Alejandro Davidovich (ESP) 7-6 (7/4), 6-7 (4/7), 7-6 (7/5), 7-6 (7/4); Christopher O’Connell (AUS) bt Diego Schwartzman (ARG x13) 7-6 (8/6), 6-4, 6-4; Maxime Cressy (USA) bt Tomas Machac (CZE) 6-1, 3-6, 6-1, 7-6 (7/5); Botic van de Zandschulp (NED) bt Richard Gasquet (FRA) 4-6, 6-0, 4-0 ret; Daniil Medvedev (RUS x2) bt Nick Kyrgios (AUS) 7-6 (7/1), 6-4, 4-6, 6-2
Women’s singles: Clara Tauson (DEN) bt Anett Kontaveit (EST x6) 6-2, 6-4; Danielle Collins (USA x27) bt Ana Konjuh (CRO) 6-4, 6-3; Elise Mertens (BEL x19) bt Irina Begu (ROM) 6-3, 6-2; Zhang Shuai (CHN) bt Elena Rybakina (KAZ x12) 6-4, 1-0 ret; Simona Halep (ROM x14) bt Beatriz Haddad Maia (BRA) 6-2, 6-0; Danka Kovinic (MNE) bt Emma Raducanu (GBR x17) 6-4, 4-6, 6-3; Tamara Zidansek (SLO x29) bt Heather Watson (GBR) 7-6 (7/4), 6-4; Alize Cornet (FRA) bt Garbine Muguruza (ESP x3) 6-3, 6-3; Iga Swiatek (POL x7) bt Rebecca Peterson (SWE) 6-2, 6-2; Darya Kasatkina (RUS x25) bt Magda Linette (POL) 6-2, 6-3; Sorana Cirstea (ROM) bt Kristina Kucova (SVK) 6-2, 6-4; Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS x10) bt Samantha Stosur (AUS) 6-2, 6-2; Kaia Kanepi (EST) bt Marie Bouzkova (CZE) 6-2, 7-6 (7/3); Maddison Inglis (AUS) bt Hailey Baptiste (USA) 7-6 (7/4), 2-6, 6-2; Marketa Vondrousova (CZE x31) bt Liudmila Samsonova (RUS) 6-2, 7-5; Aryna Sabalenka (BLR x2) bt Wang Xinyu (CHN) 1-6, 6-4, 6-2
Russia’s Daniil Medvedev plays a backhand during his second round match against Australia’s Nick Kyrgios at the Australian Open in Melbourne Park yesterday. (Reuters)