Tennis: Medvedev silences Kyrgios 'big show' to crank up title bid

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Jan 20 2022 10:58 PM

Tennis

Composed Daniil Medvedev took all that mercurial Australian Nick Kyrgios and the home crowd could throw at him to march into the third round at the Australian Open on Thursday.

The Russian world number two and title favourite served out a 7-6 (7/1), 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 win over the 115th-ranked Kyrgios in 2hr 58min.

It was a madhouse inside Rod Laver Arena with unpredictable 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 and will now face Dutchman Botic van de Zandschulp in the third round.

"It's a tough matchup against Nick. I know he can serve big and that's already really tough," Medvedev, the reigning US Open champion, said.

"I felt like I was returning really well and yet to break him it was really tough.

"But these kind of matches, first, second, third round of a Slam, it's like a big challenge where if you make it, you feel like, okay, if I can continue playing like this, I can go far."

The 25-year-old Medvedev, favourite in the absence of deported defending champion Novak Djokovic, said that a Kyrgios on form could beat anybody in the world.

"On the court he's an entertainer. It doesn't mean he's bad. But it's a big show, so I tried really to stay focused on myself during the match," he said.

"He's somebody that can beat anybody, we know it. Like when we say 'anybody' it means anybody, including Rafa (Nadal), Roger (Federer), Novak and any top-10 player because he has a lot of motivation to do it. He wants to show this."

Medvedev, who lost last year's final in Melbourne to Djokovic, was less impressed with some of the antics of the vociferous crowd. 

"I came to win this match and I am happy that I was able to do," he said on court.

"It's not your choice when you get booed between first and second serves, it's not easy, I just had to stay calm." 

Kyrgios paid tribute to his conqueror, claiming Medvedev was the best player currently on tour.

Kyrgios said he threw everything at the Russian -- including underarm serves -- in the combustible atmosphere of a prime-time night match.

"His consistency, every game he doesn't drop his level, he shows up every game no matter what the score is or how much pressure he's under he never gets flustered," said Kyrgios.

"He just has so much belief in his game. He's just so confident right now."

rsm/pst

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