The fourth-seeded Medvedev was 0-6 in Grand Slam matches that went to five sets, and his Australian Open third-round match against No. 28-seeded Filip Krajinovic looked like it was going all the way.
After some angry outbursts from an increasingly animated and chatty Medvedev directed at his box in an otherwise empty Rod Laver Arena — fans have been banned as a COVID-19 precaution — his coach, Gilles Cervara, got up and left. “He said just before leaving that he’s sure I’m going to win the match. He’s going to leave me alone to be more calm,” Medvedev explained in his on-court TV interview after Saturday’s 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 3-6, 6-0 win.
“It was a good thing to do. Luckily I won.” Some pundits, including John McEnroe, are tipping the 25-year-old Russian to make his major breakthrough in Australia. Medvedev, on a 17-match winning streak that includes titles at the 2020 season-ending ATP Finals, said while that’s nice to hear, he’s got a long way to go.
He’ll have to face unseeded American Mackenzie McDonald in the next round. After that could be a quarterfinal against No. 7 Andrey Rublev, who helped him win the ATP Cup title for Russia last week. No. 2-ranked Rafael Nadal, a 20-time major winner, is also in his half of the draw.
Nadal extended his winning streak against fellow left-handers to 16 with a 7-5, 6-2, 7-5 victory over No. 69-ranked Cameron Norrie, reaching the fourth round at Melbourne Park for the 14th time in 16 trips. He is chasing a men’s record 21st major title but entered the tournament with back stiffness and without any competitive matches in 2021. In his immediate future is No. 16 Fabio Fognini, who had a straight-set win over Australia’s last hope in the men’s draw, 21st-seeded Alex de Minaur.
Seventh-seeded Rublev had a 7-5, 6-2, 6-3 win over Feliciano Lopez, ending the 39-year-old Spaniard’s 75th consecutive major tournament. The Russian men had one loss on Day 6, with No. 19 Karen Khachanov beaten by No. 9 Matteo Berrettini 7-6 (1), 7-6 (5), 7-6 (5). Berrettini will next play fifth-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas, a 6-4, 6-1, 6-1 winner over Mikael Ymer of Sweden.