By Eleanor Crooks, PA Tennis Correspondent, Melbourne
Daniil Medvedev is not seeking to play the villain role at the Australian Open despite his run-in with the crowd against Nick Kyrgios.
The tennis world number two and title favourite had a much calmer time in defeating Botic Van De Zandschulp in the third round than he had on Thursday evening when the rowdy home fans tried to inspire Kyrgios to an upset.
Medvedev said some of the fans had a “low IQ” after they jeered between his first and second serves during the four-set win.
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 22, 2022
At the US Open in 2019, Medvedev delighted in clashing with the New York crowd on his way to his first grand slam final, saying after beating Feliciano Lopez to a chorus of boos: “I want all of you to know when you sleep tonight: I won because of you.”
After his 6-4 6-4 6-2 victory over Van De Zandschulp at Melbourne Park, Medvedev said: “I don’t think it’s the same because the other night I was playing against an Australian player, very electric Australian player.
“As I said, I didn’t have any issues except the one small thing, which is first and second serve. After the match, I think it was straightaway pretty actually fun for everybody. That’s how I felt, and I didn’t see a lot of negative reactions.
“US Open was a different story. I actually was not doing the right thing in the beginning. I managed to stay calm and turn it around by playing good.
“I like coming to Australia, I feel like people support me in general here. I want to even say feeling in a way like home. So I do think it’s much more ups than downs with the Australian crowd.”
Next up Medvedev faces an intriguing clash with fast-rising American Maxime Cressy, who continued his brilliant start to the year by beating Australian wild card Chris O’Connell.
Fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, who had elbow surgery at the end of last season, has had to battle his way into the fourth round and needed four sets to see off unpredictable Frenchman Benoit Paire 6-3 7-5 6-7 (2) 6-4.
The Greek received a warning for coaching but pleaded his innocence, saying: “I was really far away from my coach, and with my back facing the other way, so I was just laughing because I don’t know where that came from. It was completely unexpected.”
First 2nd week at a slam.. Taking it all in ❤️❤️❤️❤️ https://t.co/hYB781JI83
— Taylor Fritz (@Taylor_Fritz97) January 22, 2022
He next meets 20th seed Taylor Fritz who, a year after nearly beating an ailing Novak Djokovic, prevailed in a five-set clash with Roberto Bautista Agut to reach the fourth round of a slam for the first time.
“It’s huge,” said Fritz. “I was almost close to tearing up a bit. It seems stupid because so many people have made the second week of slams but it’s just eluded me for so long.”
Ninth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime has now made at least the last 16 at five of his last six slams after a straightforward 6-4 6-1 6-1 win over Dan Evans while 11th seed Jannik Sinner saw off Taro Daniel 6-4 1-6 6-3 6-1.