© Reuters. Australian Open
By Nick Mulvenney
MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Daniil Medvedev had to dig deep on Saturday to fend off an attacking Filip Krajinovic but came through 6-3 6-3 4-6 3-6 6-0 to extend his winning streak to 17 games and match the to join Russian attack in the fourth round of the Australian Open.
Medvedev, who lost the only match between the two players at Indian Wells in 2019, blew through the first two sets but looked seriously upset when Krajinovic won the third and paused in the fourth.
It was the tournament’s first failure for the fourth seed and he forced his trainer Gilles Cervara with a few vicious verbal volleys from the otherwise empty stands in the Rod Laver Arena before taking an injury break.
Krajinovic, who spent his pre-tournament quarantine with Novak Djokovic, was adamant after seeing some success with Medvedev’s forehand and sent the competition into a fifth set.
“He played amazingly, especially in the fourth set,” said Medvedev. “He’s raised his level.”
Medvedev had never won a match by five sets in six previous attempts, but a second trip to the bathroom did the trick, breaking the Serb 2-0 in the playoff with a crunching forehand winner.
The 25-year-old faced little resistance for the remainder of the game from Krajinovic, who had previously been beaten for breaking the code for not wearing a mask in the toilet.
Medvedev, who is next up against the American Mackenzie McDonald, did not expect any problems with his coach after his controversy.
“He said shortly before he left that he was sure that I would win the match but he will leave me alone to be calmer,” he said. “I think it was a good thing.”
Medvedev switched to compatriot Aslan Karatsev in the fourth round after the Russian qualifier against Diego Schwartzman on Friday brought a straight set.
Seventh seed Andrey Rublev later made it to a trio of Russians in the last 16 with a 7-5 6-2 6-3 win over 39-year-old Spaniard Feliciano Lopez at Margaret Court Arena.
“I feel great physically, I haven’t had long games and I feel fresh,” said Rublev, who will face Casper Ruud with Medvedev in the quarter-finals.
Karen Khachanov’s win over Matteo Berrettini on Saturday would give Russia an open-era record of four men in the last 16 of a Grand Slam.
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