Australian Open overnight: Day 6 proves fruitful for No. 2 seeds
The first Grand Slam of 2022 is officially underway. Each morning, we'll review the action you may have missed Down Under. Here's what happened overnight on Day 6 of the Australian Open.
Top story: Medvedev, crowd back on good terms
Daniil Medvedev didn’t mind the crowd reaction this time. The No. 2-ranked Medvedev had a 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 win over Botic Van de Zandschulp in the third round, two days after a challenging second-round win over Nick Kyrgios.
The U.S. Open champion was unsettled by the booing and jeering when he took on one of the local favorites but had no such concerns on Margaret Court Arena as he advanced to the fourth round for the fourth straight year in Australia.
“I’ll put it this way. It’s easier to play a guy from Netherlands than a guy from Australia in Australia, in Melbourne,” he told the crowd, before offering some relationship advice to the fans. “Every good relationship must have its ups and downs. I hope it’s going to be more good times than bad times, otherwise it doesn’t work.”
Halep drawing on her experience
Two-time Grand Slam champion Simona Halep is into Week 2 at Melbourne Park for the fifth consecutive year.
The 14th-seeded Halep advanced with a 6-2, 6-1 victory over Danka Kovinic, a player who is ranked 98th and eliminated U.S. Open champion Emma Raducanu in the previous round.
This was Kovinic's first appearance in the third round of a major.
Halep, in contrast, can count on plenty of experience in the latter stages of the sport's biggest events. She won the French Open in 2018 and Wimbledon in 2019 and made it to the final of the 2018 Australian Open before losing to Caroline Wozniacki.
None of the other players remaining the women's draw has won as many tour-level titles as Halep's 23.
Halep’s next opponent will be Alize Cornet, who celebrated her 32nd birthday with a 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 victory over No. 29 Tamara Zidansek, a 2021 French Open semifinalist.
Cornet followed up her upset of No. 3 Garbiñe Muguruza by reaching the fourth round at the Australian Open for the first time since 2009.
In another third-round match ending Saturday afternoon, 27th-seeded Danielle Collins of the U.S. came back from a set and a break down to beat 19-year-old Clara Tauson 4-6, 6-4, 7-5.
Tauson was the last teenager left in either singles bracket.
Cilic bounces No. 5 Rublev
Former U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic has upset No. 5-seeded Andrey Rublev to reach the fourth round of the Australian Open.
The 33-year-old Cilic, who won the 2014 U.S. Open title and was a runner-up to Roger Federer in Australia in 2018, beat Rublev 7-5, 7-6 (3), 3-6, 6-3 in the last match completed on Day 6 of the year’s first Grand Slam tournament.
He went into the encounter with just one win in his previous 15 matches against Top 10 players and had lost his previous four head-to-heads against Rublev, but was dominant from the start.
Cilic will next play No. 9 Felix Auger-Aliassime, who won 14 of the last 16 games in his 6-4, 6-1, 6-1 third-round win over No. 24 Dan Evans.
Sabalenka winning despite issues with serve
Second-seeded Aryna Sabalenka has moved into the fourth round at the Australian Open with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 win over No. 31 Marketa Vondrousova.
The match started ominously for Sabalenka when she had two double-faults and was broken in the first game.
But unlike her second-round match, when she had nine double-faults in her first two service games and 19 in the match, Sabalenka reduced that glaring match statistic to 10.
“I’m really happy right now — mostly I’m happy I made only 10 double-faults,” Sabalenka said, laughing, in her on-court TV interview.
Sabalenka had an important service hold in the fourth game of the third set, a game that lasted about eight minutes, and then stayed in control for the rest of the match.
A two-time major semifinalist, Sabalenka conceded she'd “had some trouble” recently with her serve, but added: “I’ll just keeping working on the serve and hope it gets better with every match.”
She'll next play No. 115-ranked Kaia Kanepi, who beat Australian wild-card entry Maddison Inglis 2-6, 6-2, 6-0. Kanepi has reached the quarterfinals six times at Grand Slam events, but never has reached the last eight at the Australian Open.
Tsitsipas set to take on Fritz
Fourth-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas fended off Benoit Paire 6-3, 7-5, 6-7 (2), 6-4 to advance to a fourth-round match against Taylor Fritz at the Australian Open.
Tsitsipas was runner-up at the French Open and reached the Australian Open semifinals last year.
No. 20-seeded Fritz had a 6-0, 3-6, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 win over No. 15 Roberto Bautista Agut to reach the fourth round at a Grand Slam tournament for the first time.
The 24-year-old American, contesting his sixth Australian Open and 22nd major overall, recorded just his second win and seven head-to-head meetings with Bautista Agut, a 33-year-old Spaniard.
Maxime Cressy, another 24-year-old American, is into the fourth round at a major for the first time.
The No. 70-ranked Cressy beat Australian wildcard entry Chris O’Connell 6-2, 6-7 (6), 6-3, 6-2 and will next play U.S. Open champion Daniil Medvedev.
De Minaur 'living the dream' in home Slam
Alex de Minaur has advanced to the fourth round of his home Grand Slam event for the first time.
De Minaur, seeded 32nd, beat Pablo Andujar 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 in the first of the night matches on Day 6 on the main show court at Melbourne Park.
“Pretty exciting to play at 7 p.m. on Rod Laver Arena in front of the great Rod Laver himself,” he said. “There’s no place I’d rather be. I’m in my home Slam doing what I love — I’m living the dream.”
De Minaur, a quarterfinalist at the 2020 U.S. Open, will next play No. 11 Jannik Sinner, who beat Japanese qualifier Taro Daniel 6-4, 1-6, 6-3, 6-1 in the third round.
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