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Rediff.com  » Sports » Aus Open PIX: Medvedev shocked; Swiatek, Tsitsipas ease into 4th round

Aus Open PIX: Medvedev shocked; Swiatek, Tsitsipas ease into 4th round

Last updated on: January 20, 2023 21:50 IST
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Images from Day 5 of the 2023 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on Friday.

Korda stuns Medvedev

USA's Sebastian Korda celebrates winning his third round match against Russia's Daniil Medvedev

IMAGE: USA's Sebastian Korda celebrates winning his third round match against Russia's Daniil Medvedev. Photograph: Hannah Mckay/Reuters

American Sebastian Korda stunned former world number one Daniil Medvedev 7-6 (7), 6-3, 7-6 (4) for the biggest win of his young career.

The 22-year-old, son of 1998 Australian Open champion Petr, unleashed an all-court assault on the Russian 2021 US Open champion, hammering 50 winners and making regular charges to the net.

 

"Probably one of the better matches I've played in my career," said an elated Korda.

"Just stuck with the game plan, kept going after it. I think positive mentally throughout it. No matter what happened, kept pushing forward."

The 22-year-old took the game to the Russian seventh seed from the start on Rod Laver Arena, firing winners from both sides, mixing it up with some serve-volley and lofting a few delightful drop shots.

The 29th seed prevailed in a thrilling tiebreak to win an 85-minute opening set and needed only one break to seal the second.

It was only at a break down in the third that 2021 US Open champion Medvedev showed the quality that took him to the top of the world rankings but Korda would not be denied and again won the tiebreak to set up a meeting with 10th seed Hubert Hurkacz.

Swiatek eases into second week

IMAGE: World No 1 Iga Swiatek is looking to add a first Melbourne Park crown to the French and US Open titles she won last year. Photograph: Mackenzie Sweetnam/Getty Images

Top seed Iga Swiatek continued to carve her way through the Australian Open draw on Friday, dismantling Cristina Bucsa 6-0, 6-1 in bright sunshine on the Margaret Court Arena to reach the fourth round.

The 21-year-old world number one, who is looking to add a first Melbourne Park crown to the French and US Open titles she won last year, was all business as she whipped through the first set in 23 minutes.

World number 100 Bucsa had simply no answer to Swiatek's all-court game and the Spaniard only managed to avoid the dreaded 'double bagel' 6-0 6-0 scoreline by holding her last service game.

Swiatek should face a tougher test in Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina in the last 16 after the big-serving Kazakh earlier upset last year's losing finalist Danielle Collins.

Rampant Tsitsipas advances

IMAGE: Stefanos Tsitsipas celebrates winning his third round match against Tallon Griekspoor of the Netherlands during Day 5 of the 2023 Australian Open in Melbourne on Friday. Photograph: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas made short work of Dutchman Tallon Griekspoor, winning 6-2, 7-6(5), 6-3 to reach the fourth round of the Australian Open on Friday, shortly after organisers defended their schedule after the previous day's late finish.

Playing in glorious sunshine after two days marked by wild swings in the weather, the highest-seeded man in the draw after the premature exits of holder Rafael Nadal and Casper Ruud played near-flawless tennis to the delight of Greek fans in the Rod Laver Arena.

"Fair crack of the whip mate, I mean, it was great," Tsitsipas said, slipping into the local vernacular. "I think my placement on the serve was exceptional today, I didn't have a lot of rallies on my serve, which helped a lot.

"Kind of kept things clean and I enjoyed the weather today, what a lovely day for tennis it is today, isn't it?"

Tsitsipas has not dropped a set in the tournament as he chases a maiden Grand Slam. But the 2021 French Open runner-up came close midway through the match, saving a set point in the second set before doubling his advantage following a tiebreak.

Roared on by Greek fans, many of them from Melbourne, which has the largest population of Greek speakers outside Greece and Cyprus, Tsitsipas eased through the next set without any drama to set up a clash with 21-year-old Italian Jannik Sinner.

Sinner's epic comeback

IMAGE: Italian 15th seed Jannik Sinner fought back from two sets down to beat Marton Fucsovics of Hungary. Photograph: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

Jannik Sinner outlasted Marton Fucsovics 4-6, 4-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-0 to reach the Australian Open fourth round on Friday while Barbora Krejcikova made swift progress after organisers defended their schedule at the Grand Slam over the previous day's late finish.

Former French Open winner Krejcikova, a quarter-finalist at Melbourne Park in 2022, went through with a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Anhelina Kalinina to remain on course for a potential meeting with American third seed Jessica Pegula.

But the 21-year-old Sinner was made to work harder after making a poor start to his match as he dropped his serve twice and made 18 unforced errors to lose the opening set.

A neat passing shot at the net after powerful exchanges from the baseline helped Fucsovics break for a 2-1 lead in the second set and the world number 78 heaped more pressure on his opponent by going two sets up before Sinner switched gears.

IMAGE: Jannik Sinner has reached the quarter-finals of all four Grand Slams but has never gone any further. Photograph: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

Italian Sinner, the 15th seed who has reached the quarter-finals of all four Grand Slams but has never gone any further, dropped only three games en route to the next two sets playing superior tennis against a fading Fucsovics.

He went on to blank his opponent to draw huge cheers from the crowd on Margaret Court Arena, which had witnessed an epic comeback from Andy Murray only hours earlier.

The former world number one was not happy to end his match at 4.05 am on Friday, describing the late finish as a "joke" and "disrespectful."

Tournament director Craig Tiley ruled out any immediate changes after Murray said tennis must aim to avoid late finishes having completed a remarkable 4-6, 6-7(4), 7-6(5), 6-3, 7-5 win over Thanasi Kokkinakis.

"At this point there's no need to change the schedule," Tiley, who has had to negotiate delays caused by heat and rain, told the 'Today Show' on Channel Nine. "We'll always look at it, when we do the (tournament) debrief -- like we do every year.

"But at this point, at what it is, we've got to fit those matches in the 14 days, so you don't have many options."

IMAGE: Czech 20th seed Barbora Krejcikova, the 2021 French Open champion, outclassed Anhelina Kalinina of Ukraine to reach the fourth round. Photograph: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

Sixth seed Felix Auger Aliassime also advanced with a 6-1, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 win over Francisco Cerundolo but his fellow Canadian Denis Shapovalov came up short in a stirring comeback against 10th seed Hubert Hurkacz and bowed out 7-6 (3), 6-4, 1-6, 4-6, 6-3.

Madison Keys looked like continuing her unbeaten start to the season when she took the first set against Victoria Azarenka only for the 2012 and 2013 Australian Open champion to rally for a 1-6, 6-2, 6-1 upset of the 10th seed.

Azarenka will next play world number 87 Zhu Lin of China, who stunned Greek sixth seed Maria Sakkari 7-6 (3), 1-6, 6-4 in the final match of the day.

No American man has captured a Grand Slam singles title since Andy Roddick at the 2003 US Open, but the country's hopes had been raised after eight men made the third round.

Nadal's unseeded conqueror Mackenzie McDonald was unable to continue his run, however, as he fell 7-6 (6), 6-3, 6-2 to Japan's Yoshihito Nishioka.

Frances Tiafoe and his eye-catching outfit also departed 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (9) at the hands of Russian Karen Khachanov in a meeting of the losing semi-finalists at last year's US Open.

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