Australian Open 2022: Daniil Medvedev enjoys Melbourne love-in to reach last 16

Melbourne, Australia, Jan 22 (AFP): Peace broke out between title favourite Daniil Medvedev and the Australian Open crowd on Saturday as the forthright Russian cruised into the last 16.

In sweltering conditions, the world number two defeated unseeded Dutchman Botic van de Zandschulp 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 in 1hr 55min at Margaret Court Arena.

The atmosphere was considerably more friendly than it was during Medvedev’s high-octane win over home favourite Nick Kyrgios two days ago at Rod Laver Arena, when he was critical of sections of the raucous crowd booing him in between serves.

Medvedev, who has a history of riling up partisan crowds, made headlines when he said afterwards: “It’s not everybody doing it but people who are doing it probably have a low IQ.”

But there was no hint of animosity from the spectators on Saturday, who applauded him during his on-court interview after his win over Van de Zandschulp.

“It’s great. The other night I don’t feel like there was anything wrong,” he said.

“I just talked about exactly one thing, which is between first and second serve, because the rest is, of course, they are going to support Nick, I’m not stupid, you know.

“I like coming to Australia, I feel like people support me in general here. I want to even say feeling in a way is like home.

“So I do think it’s much more ups than downs with Australian crowd.”

Medvedev, the runner-up a year ago, is the favourite in the absence of deported defending champion Novak Djokovic and is looking for back-to-back Grand Slam crowns after beating the 20-time Grand Slam champion in the US Open final.

His next opponent is American Maxime Cressy, who will be making his first round of 16 appearance at a major following his 6-2, 6-7 (6/8), 6-3, 6-2 win over Australian Chris O’Connell.

Although it was not broken in 14 service games, Medvedev’s serve was a little shaky with six double-faults.

Medvedev also beat the Dutchman in their only other meeting, in the quarter-finals of last year’s US Open.

“In my opinion, he was better than in the US Open but maybe he served a little bit worse, and that’s where I took my chances,” he said. The Dutchman gave up four service breaks.

“Almost like every game where I could break him I managed to do it. I think I had two games where I didn’t break him when I had break points, but it was enough today.

“I’m feeling just confident and great about my game.”