Daniil Medvedev on Friday became the latest title contender to crash out of the men’s draw at the Australian Open. The Russian was runner-up at the last two Grand Slams in Melbourne but his tournament ended with a whimper in round three at the hands of Sebastian Korda.
The American, son of 1998 Australian Open champion Petr Korda, won 7-6 (9/7), 6-3, 7-6 (7/4) as seventh seed Medvedev followed defending champion Rafael Nadal and Casper Ruud in exiting in the first week.
Korda, who faces 10th seed Hubert Hurkacz of Poland next, told Rod Laver Arena: “An unbelievable match.
“I sort of knew what I had to do and I stuck with it even when I was going up and down with the emotions.
“I’m thrilled right now, I played amazing,” said the 22-year-old.
With world number one Carlos Alcaraz not involved because of injury, Medvedev’s surprise defeat to the 29th seed is another boost to nine-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic.
The hot favourite, who is nursing a hamstring problem, plays 27th seed Grigor Dimitrov on Saturday.
Tsitsipas ploughs on
Stefanos Tsitsipas is now the highest remaining seed at three and the Greek star stretched his unbeaten streak this year to set up a last-16 clash with Italian Jannik Sinner.
The 24-year-old Tsitsipas, who is yet to drop a set, clinched his seventh straight win of 2023 by beating Dutchman Tallon Griekspoor 6-2, 7-6 (7/5), 6-3.
With defending champion Rafael Nadal and world number three Casper Ruud both out, Greece’s Tsitsipas is the highest seed left on the men’s side.
He set up a last-16 clash with the dangerous Jannik Sinner after the Italian 15th seed stormed back to crush Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics 4-6, 4-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-0.
It will be a rematch of their Melbourne Park quarter-final last year, which Tsitsipas won in straight sets, before exiting in the last four.
But Tsitsipas, who won all four games at the United Cup leading into the Grand Slam, is refusing to get carried away.
“I don’t make predictions. I’ve never been making predictions because the sport that I chose to play is unpredictable,” he said. “Of course there are favourites. Everyone knows that.
“But if my mind is not there, doesn’t matter who I’m playing.
“If I’m not able to generate good shots, hit big shots at important moments, be daring at important moments, doesn’t matter who’s on the other side of the net.
“There are no presents,” he added. “You should be going after it, you should be creating those opportunities and aiming big within yourself, sometimes surpass your own abilities.”
Like Tsitsipas, 63rd-ranked Griekspoor also came into the match unbeaten, on a six-match streak after collecting a maiden Tour-level title in Pune, India.
But he was no match for the surging Greek, a three-time semi-finalist at Melbourne Park.
The 24-year-old was in charge in the first set, breaking twice, dominating from the baseline and the net to sweep through in just 28 minutes.
But the Dutchman put up stiffer resistance in the second, earning a set point at 6-5 which Tsitsipas saved to take it to a tiebreak, where he kept his cool to prevail.
Griekspoor’s resolve melted and Tsitsipas broke for a 3-1 lead in the third set before racing home.
Sinner, a six-time champion on the ATP Tour, kept his hopes alive with a stirring comeback against Fucsovics, who lost all confidence as the match progressed.
Sinner said he would be better prepared this time for Tsitsipas.
“For sure I’m looking forward always for these kind of matches, knowing that he is one of the best players in the world,” said Sinner, who enjoyed straight-sets wins in his opening two matches.
“But I’ve changed a little bit for sure my game. It’s going to be hopefully a good match... This is what I practise for.”
Japan’s Nishioka registers 100th career win
Yoshihito Nishioka ousted Rafael Nadal’s conqueror Mackenzie McDonald at the Australian Open on Friday to become only the third Japanese man to record 100 Tour-level wins.
The 27-year-old reached his first round of 16 at a Grand Slam with a 7-6 (8/6), 6-3, 6-2 victory over the American, who stunned injured defending champion Nadal on Wednesday.
It was the left-hander’s 100th career victory, matching the feat of fellow Japanese Kei Nishikori (431) and Shuzo Matsuoka (148).
He also joined them as the only men from Japan to progress to the fourth round at a major tournament, with Nishikori making the grade 22 times and Matsuoka once.
The 31st seed Nishioka, who won his second title last year at Seoul, will meet either American 16th seed Frances Tiafoe or Russian 18th seed Karen Khachanov for a place in the quarter-finals.
Also into the last 16 are sixth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime and 18th seed Karen Khachanov.The Russian defeated 16th-seeded American Frances Tiafoe in four sets.