Playful Medvedev into Open fourth round

Murray Wenzel |

Daniil Medvedev has dished out some relationship advice after enjoying a more placid return to Melbourne Park as the Australian Open’s top-ranked man eased past Botic van de Zandschulp and into the fourth round.

The No.2 seed and tournament favourite in the absence of Novak Djokovic, Medvedev did his best to ignore the rowdy Rod Laver Arena crowd as he beat Nick Kyrgios on Thursday night.

Post-match though he admitted those who heckled, some between serves at crucial moments, “probably have a low IQ”, leaving him open to becoming the tournament’s pantomime villain.

Any fears were allayed on Margaret Court Arena on Saturday afternoon, the Russian was methodical on court and then playful with the appreciative audience off it in a 6-4 6-4 6-2 win in less than two hours.

“I was hoping you were going to be a little bit easier on me guys,” Medvedev smirked in his on-court interview after the win.

“It’s easier to play a guy from Netherlands than a guy from Australia in Melbourne.

“I think every good relationship must have its ups and down … it’s good, it’s entertaining and it’s real.

“There is some relationship going on … hopefully I can come many more years here and hoping it’s going to be more good times than bad times, otherwise it doesn’t work.”

In his fourth consecutive Australian Open round of 16 appearance, Medvedev will play either Australian wildcard Chris O’Connell or big-serving American Maxime Cressy for a spot in the quarter-finals.

Van de Zandschulp had lost to Medvedev in the US Open quarter-finals last year, having become the only man to progress to all four majors through qualifying in the same year. 

That graft has paid off, the Dutch talent set to move up seven spots to a career-high No.50 in the world despite Saturday’s loss.