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Medvedev breaks new ground to make last 16

Daniil Medvedev veered off course in the middle of his third-round match against Filip Krajinovic before re-setting at Rod Laver Arena on Saturday to extend his winning streak to an incredible 17 matches. 

MORE: All the scores from Day 6 at AO 2021

The 6-3 6-3 4-6 3-6 6-0 win ensured the Russian returns to the Australian Open fourth round for the third straight year, where he will play Mackenzie McDonald for a place in his first quarterfinal at Melbourne Park. 

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13 Feb 21

HIGHLIGHTS R3: Medvedev v Krajinovic

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In a match of distinct segments, Medvedev dominated the first two sets, melted down as Krajinovic became more aggressive in the next two, and then refocused in the fifth. 

The win marked his first victory over Krajinovic – and his first five-set triumph in seven attempts. 

"I remember many of these five-set matches, I think like three or four of them, I would be a break up or something like this,” said the fourth seed, who is among the favourites for the AO 2021 title. 

“I always say experience is the key for me, so this fifth set I felt like, of course it was tight, but as soon as I got the break I was under control and in contrary with previous matches, where I could get tight and start to rush things and make some errors, here ... I was really calm to finish the match. 

“I'm really happy that I got the first five-set win.” 

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Medvedev's winning streak now stands at 17, and counting

Krajinovic is a tidy player who thrives on quick hard courts. But in what must have been a demoralising situation, there was barely one facet of the 28-year-old Serb’s game that outshone that of the ruthless Russian in the first set. 

Medvedev served bigger, returned better, covered the court more effectively, struck more winners and committed fewer errors than his overmatched opponent. 

Krajinovic dropped serve in the very first game of the match and could not rebound from that deficit, especially with Medvedev averaging more than 200km/h on first serves and losing only three service points throughout the entire stanza. 

A late break to take the opening set meant Medvedev was serving first in the second, and although his level began to slightly dip, he was still able to hold Krajinovic at arm’s length. 

An error-strewn sixth game from the Serb saw him drop serve, and Medvedev consolidated that break after pounding a forehand winner down the centre of the court to lead 5-2. At this point of the match, his winner count was 19 to Krajinovic’s eight.

Ahead two sets to love, Medvedev arrived at 15-40 in the ninth game and held a total of three break points, which if converted would have seen him serving for a straight-sets win. 

Instead, the increasingly aggressive Krajinovic escaped and then broke in the following game to snatch the third set, during which he struck more winners than Medvedev and won 12 of 15 trips to the net. 

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Krajinovic upped his aggression to get back into the match, but fell away late

"Third set I had some chances ... I got a bit tight. Made some mistakes maybe I shouldn't make, and maybe the match would be over. That was not the case,” Medvedev said. "I think also he played unbelievable.” 

After Medvedev failed to convert more break points in the opening game of the fourth, he soon fell behind 4-1, becoming increasingly disgruntled on court. 

At that point, his coach, Gilles Cervara, departed the stadium and did not return. 

"He said just before leaving that he's sure I'm gonna win the match, but he's gonna leave me alone to be more calm, actually,” Medvedev revealed. 

Two games later, Medvedev left the court to receive treatment on a left glute injury, and two games after that, Krajinovic earned a pair of set points, shrugged off consecutive double faults on those points, and converted on his third opportunity to send the match to a fifth. 

Suddenly, Medvedev was re-energised, increasingly redirecting the ball and adding sting to his shots. "I tried to change my position on my return in fifth set, seemed to be working well I guess,” he laughed. 

The world No.4 belted an inside-out forehand winner to break for 2-0 and pounded an unreturnable serve out wide for 3-0, before three winners in the sixth game saw him arrive at match point. 

He completed the fifth-set shut-out by winning 27 points to Krajinovic’s 12.