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Daniil Medvedev hits a shot at Indian Wells Open in Indian Wells, California, the US. Picture: JAYNE KAMIN-ONCEA/USA TODAY
Daniil Medvedev hits a shot at Indian Wells Open in Indian Wells, California, the US. Picture: JAYNE KAMIN-ONCEA/USA TODAY

World No 2 Daniil Medvedev kept his calm amid a raucous crowd to put an end to the Nick Kyrgios show in the second round of the Australian Open on Thursday, dumping out the mercurial local hope with a clinical 7-6(1) 6-4 4-6 6-2 win.

The atmosphere at the floodlit Rod Laver Arena was more like a Davis Cup match than a Grand Slam with the sellout 50% capacity — due to Covid-19 health protocols — cheering every Kyrgios point on Melbourne Park’s main showcourt.

“I came to win this match and I am happy I managed to do it,” a stone-faced Medvedev said in his on-court interview, repeatedly asking the crowd to quieten down.

“The only choice is to keep calm when you get booed between first and second serve.”

Kyrgios egged on the crowd to get behind him from the onset, with his repeated chest-thumping, but also rebuked them for interrupting him during his service motion.

The Australian was warned for an audible obscenity as he repeatedly engaged with the chair umpire, accusing him of starting the shot clock early between points, while also getting a time violation for not being ready to receive serve.

Ahead of the match Kyrgios said he believed Medvedev is the best player in the world despite having beaten him both times in their previous meetings. The Russian showed why — staying calm and composed in the face of partisan support and his opponent’s usual antics.

Frustrated by Medvedev’s robotic precision, the former world No 13, who has slipped to 115th in the rankings, kept shaking his head in disbelief and told the crowd: “I am doing everything I can.”

“I can’t serve any bigger,” he kept muttering during a changeover, signalling with his hand that Medvedev was managing to return his rocket serves with ease. 

Kyrgios did manage to stage a fightback in the third set and a no-look “tweener” while chasing back from a Medvedev lob sent the crowd wild as the showman won the point, poking out his tongue and performing a few dance moves in celebration.

But Medvedev, who fired 68 winners in the match, soon regained control.

A double break in the fourth set made it look easy in the end for 2021’s Australian Open finalist and he will next meet 57th-ranked Botic van de Zandschulp of the Netherlands for a place in the fourth round. 

Former world No 1 Simona Halep put in a clinical performance to see off Beatriz Haddad Maia 6-2 6-0 and progress to the third round.

“It’s been a little difficult to wait all day to play, but it was a good match before me [Kyrgios vs Medvedev], so that motivated a little,” Halep said.

Japanese qualifier Taro Daniel ended Andy Murray’s challenge in emphatic fashion as he sealed a 6-4 6-4 6-4 win over the three-time Major winner.

Murray, probably still reeling from the effects of his arduous five-set victory in the first round, fought back with an early break in the third set but was no match for Daniel, who next faces Jannik Sinner.

US Open champion Emma Raducanu was bundled out in the second round losing 6-4 4-6 6-3 to Montenegro’s Danka Kovinic.

The 19-year-old British sensation was hampered by a blistered racket hand from early in the first set of a tense contest on Margaret Court Arena but showed great fighting spirit to stay in contention.

With her usually powerful forehand reduced to a slice, Raducanu let slip a 3-0 lead to lose the first set. But she played on her 98th-ranked opponent’s nerves to break at 4-4 in the second and take the match into a decider.

Kovinic showed great composure to forge ahead in the deciding set, resist a Raducanu fightback, and then move 5-3 ahead as the British youngster finally looked a little weary.

A stunning backhand winner sealed victory for the 27-year-old Kovinic as she moved into the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time. 

Reuters

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