Daniil in a rush: Medvedev cruises into quarters

  • Dan Imhoff

Daniil Medvedev’s coach was a poised man sitting courtside on Monday as his charge kept a simmering temperament dialled down and his game locked in to book a maiden Australian Open quarterfinal berth.

The Russian fourth seed’s 6-4 6-2 6-3 hiding of American Mackenzie McDonald extended his winning streak to 18 matches and kept coach Gilles Cervara in the stands.

SCOREBOARD: D Medvedev d M McDonald

It was a far cry from Saturday when fed up at the 24-year-old’s fiery sprays, Cervara stormed out mid-match.

That preemptive action paid dividends as Medvedev pulled off his first five-set triumph in the third round.

 

No repeat was necessary, though, in the round of 16 as the Muscovite never looked like botching a two-set lead as he nearly did against Filip Krajinovic.

“It was a great match. I was feeling the ball great, I was serving great,” Medvedev said. “The only time I lost serve was 5-2 in the first set, which didn't matter so much.

“It’s an exciting moment to be in the quarters in Australia for the first time. That’s a great achievement for me. I want more all the time, but step by step. So this is amazing … I finished at 1.30 [hours], which is important in the later stages of the Grand Slams, to make fast matches.”

He will face No.7 seed Andrey Rublev for a semifinal berth after his compatriot later joined him and Aslan Karatsev in the quarterfinals, marking the first time three Russian men had reached the last eight at a major.

Rublev led 24th seed Casper Ruud 6-2 7-6(2) before the Norwegian retired due to an abdominal injury.

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Mackenzie McDonald couldn't stay with his opponent on Margaret Court Arena

“It's amazing. It's definitely one Russian in the semis, three Russians in the quarters,” Medvedev said. “It’s great for our sport. We are both, with Andrey, really happy for Aslan, because he was practising good in ATP Cup.  We felt like he could do something amazing.” 

Against the 192nd-ranked McDonald, Medvedev glided effortlessly as he thumped 29 winners during the one hour and 29 minutes on court.

McDonald had come close to cracking the top 50 in 2019 before a hamstring injury sidelined him for seven months, but this was only his second appearance in the fourth round at a major.

Playing at a protected ranking of No.83, the 25-year-old kept Medvedev honest early on when he rallied back from 1-5 in the first set before the Russian steadied to serve it out four games later after 33 minutes.

With two sets comfortably in the bag, Medvedev ripped a dipping pass and showed great wheels to run down a single-handed backhand flicked on the run to land the crucial break of the third.

Friendship will be cast aside when he faces good friend and ATP Cup-winning teammate from last week, Rublev, next.

The 23-year-old became the only player to reach the quarterfinals at all three majors since the pandemic hiatus.