Daniil Medvedev yesterday tamed Nick Kyrgios to surge into the Australian Open third round 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 No. 1 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 favorite after the deportation of reigning champion Novak Djokovic on the eve of the tournament.
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.
Calculating Medvedev dealt with it all to ease through 7-6 (7/1), 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 and is now to face Dutchman Botic van de Zandschulp in the third round.
Medvedev was not happy with some of the antics of the crowd.
“It’s not your choice when you get booed between first and second serves,” he said. “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 No. 1 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 fairy-tale 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 might 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 is to play 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.
Kontaveit, seen by many as a serious title contender after a breakout season last year, committed 27 unforced errors as she was stunned 6-2, 6-4 by fast-rising Danish teenager Clara Tauson.
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.
Second-seed Aryna Sabalenka lived 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 — six in the opening game alone — before managing to drag herself through 1-6, 6-4, 6-2.
Taiwanese badminton star Tai Tzu-ying (戴資穎) yesterday beat Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon in their women’s singles semi-final match to advance to today’s final at the Thailand Open. The top-seeded Tai overcame a 10-21 first-game loss to seventh seed and former world champion Ratchanok to dominate the final two games 21-13, 21-19 in 58 minutes of play at the Impact Arena in Bangkok. World No. 2 Tai is today to face world No. 4 Chen Yufei of China. Chen yesterday bested Pusarla Venkata Sindhu 21-17, 21-16 to secure her spot in the final of the Super 500 tournament. On Friday, Tai overpowered China’s He Bingjiao 21-10,
Wimbledon, widely regarded as the world’s most prestigious tennis tournament, was on Friday stripped of ranking points by the sport’s main tours in a move that threatens to reduce the Grand Slam to the status of a high-profile exhibition event. The decision by the ATP and WTA was in response to Wimbledon banning Russian and Belarusian players following the invasion of Ukraine. “It is with great regret and reluctance that we see no option but to remove ATP Ranking points from Wimbledon for 2022,” an ATP statement said. “Our rules and agreements exist in order to protect the rights of players as a
Defending champions Taichung Blue Whale thrashed Taoyuan Mars 6-0 in Taiwanese women’s soccer over the weekend, while Hualien City rolled on with their fourth win to sit atop the league table. While Thai fullback Pitsamai Sornsai partnered with compatriot goalkeeper Nattaruja Muthtanawech on defense, Japanese midfielder Maho Tanaka opened the scoring for Blue Whale in Saturday’s match, kicking a screamer on a volley from outside the penalty box — her first goal of the season. The match remained 1-0 heading into the break, although Taoyuan Mars striker Ho Chia-huan, a student at Hsing Wu High School in New Taipei City, had good
Faced with a machete, a fighter leaps and locks his legs around another man’s neck, bringing him crashing down to a cacophony of cheers. This is vovinam, Vietnam’s acrobatic martial art with roots dating back to the country’s struggle for independence, and it is showing at the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games for the first time since 2013. Proponents are trained to use not only their hands and legs to grapple a rival to the ground, but also fend off assailants armed with blades. Short for “Vo Viet Nam” (literally “Vietnamese martial arts”) it was inspired by nationalists who sought an end to the