MELBOURNE: Daniil Medvedev didn’t mind the crowd reaction this time. The No. 2-ranked Medvedev had a 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 win over Botic Van de Zandschulp in the third round, two days after a challenging second-round win over Nick Kyrgios.
The U.S. Open champion was unsettled by the booing and jeering when he took on one of the local favourites but had no such concerns on Margaret Court Arena as he advanced to the fourth round for the fourth straight year in Australia.
“I’ll put it this way. It’s easier to play a guy from Netherlands than a guy from Australia in Australia, in Melbourne,” he told the crowd, before offering some relationship advice to the fans. “Every good relationship must have it's ups and downs. I hope it’s going to be more good times than bad times, otherwise, it doesn’t work.”
Medvedev, a finalist in 2021, will next face either Maxime Cressy of the U.S. or Australian wildcard entry Chris O'Connell.
Second-seeded Aryna Sabalenka has moved into the fourth round at the Australian Open with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 win over No. 31 Marketa Vondrousova.
The match started ominously for Sabalenka when she had two double-faults and was broken in the first game.
But unlike her second-round match, when she had nine double-faults in her first two service games and 19 in the match, Sabalenka reduced that glaring match statistic to 10.
“I’m really happy right now — mostly I’m happy I made only 10 double-faults,” Sabalenka said, laughing, in her on-court TV interview.
Sabalenka had an important service hold in the fourth game of the third set, a game that lasted about eight minutes, and then stayed in control for the rest of the match.
A two-time major semifinalist, Sabalenka conceded she'd “had some trouble” recently with her serve, but added: “I’ll just keep working on the serve and hope it gets better with every match.”
She'll next play No. 115-ranked Kaia Kanepi, who beat Australian wild-card entry Maddison Inglis 2-6, 6-2, 6-0. Kanepi has reached the quarterfinals six times at Grand Slam events, but never has reached the last eight at the Australian Open.
Two-time Grand Slam champion Simona Halep is into Week 2 at Melbourne Park for the fifth consecutive year.
The 14th-seeded Halep advanced with a 6-2, 6-1 victory over Danka Kovinic, a player who is ranked 98th and eliminated U.S. Open champion Emma Raducanu in the previous round.
This was Kovinic's first appearance in the third round of a major.
Halep, in contrast, can count on plenty of experience in the latter stages of the sport's biggest events. She won the French Open in 2018 and Wimbledon in 2019 and made it to the final of the 2018 Australian Open before losing to Caroline Wozniacki.
None of the other players remaining in the women's draw has won as many tour-level titles as Halep's 23.
Halep’s next opponent will be Alize Cornet, who celebrated her 32nd birthday with a 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 victory over No. 29 Tamara Zidansek, a 2021 French Open semifinalist.
Cornet followed up her upset of No. 3 Garbiñe Muguruza by reaching the fourth round at the Australian Open for the first time since 2009.
In another third-round match ending Saturday afternoon, 27th-seeded Danielle Collins of the U.S. came back from a set and a break down to beat 19-year-old Clara Tauson 4-6, 6-4, 7-5.
Tauson was the last teenager left in either singles bracket.
Play has started on Day 6 at the Australian Open and the temperature is expected to top 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 Celsius) as the third round concludes.
U.S. Open champion Daniil Medvedev will look to progress in his bid to become the first man to win his second Grand Slam title at the major tournament that immediately follows his first such triumph.
Medvedev was the runner-up at Melbourne Park in 2021 and is seeded No. 2 this time. He might as well as have a No. 1 next to his name because top-ranked Novak Djokovic never played a point this year after failing in his attempt to get into the field despite not being vaccinated against COVID-19.
Medvedev faces 57th-ranked Botic van de Zandschulp on Saturday at Rod Laver Arena.
Other matches include No. 4 Stefanos Tsitsipas against Benoit Paire, and No. 5 Andrey Rublev meeting 2014 U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic.
Two-time major champion Simona Halep plays Danka Kovinic, and 2020 French Open winner Iga Swiatek takes on Daria Kasatkina.