Daniil Medvedev faced another challenge at the Australian Open on Monday, but once again found the answers to reach the quarter-finals in Melbourne for the second time.
The second seed survived a serve-and-volley attack by a resilient Maxime Cressy, beating the American 6-2, 7-6 (4), 6-7 (4), 7-5 in three hours and 30 minutes on Margaret Court Arena.
Medvedev returned from deep behind the baseline as he searched for the toes of the incoming six-foot Cressy, who stormed the net through the entire net. The Russian crucially saved one set point on service at 5-6, 30/40 in the second set, elevating his level in key moments, while showing patience to keep his Australian Open title bid.
“He Really Did It” [serve and volley] good,” said Medvedev. “First set I was in control, but the second set I couldn’t break it, but I won the tiebreak and just wanted to continue like this. When I lost the third [set] and when I had eight breakpoints in the fourth set, I thought come on. Some of them I could have won, but he played well, but on the last one I played well.”
Cressy’s serve and volley tactics have seen success this season, with the world No. 70 reaching the final of the Melbourne Summer Set, before advancing to the last 16 here at Melbourne Park.
The 24-year-old, who won 66 percent (89/135) of net points against Medvedev, put pressure on the Russian all the time but was ultimately unable to pass the world No. 2, with Medvedev blunting Cressy’s attack with brutal ball that beat in their first ATP Head2Head meeting.
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With his win, the 25-year-old extended his recent strong hard court record. The 13-time touring champion went 13-1 at the Australian Open and US Open in 2021 and won his first Grand Slam crown in New York.
The Russian, who has dropped just two sets in Melbourne so far, reached the Australian Open championship match last season (l. to Djokovic), but will go one step further this week, alongside ninth-seeded Felix Auger-Aliassime after the Canadian, the Croat defeated Marin Cilic 2-6, 7-6(7), 6-2, 7-6(4).
In a quick start against Cressy, Medvedev broke through in the third game to gain early control. In a strong first set performance, the Russian failed to breakpoint and played consistently from the ground, committing just one unforced foul to move forward.
However, Cressy was able to stay with the Russian in the second set to stop Medvedev’s rhythm and won 85 percent (22/26) of his first serving points. He pulled out the only break point in the set, which was a set point at 6-5, 40/30, but Medvedev demonstrated his defensive skills to stay alive, covering the field well and eventually blasting a winner past Cressy after a brutal exchange.
The world No. 2 took advantage of his lifeline and raised his level in the tiebreaker to go further afield. But Cressy refused to go away and drove volleys down the field as he narrowed the deficit and won four straights from 3/4 in the third set tiebreak to gain a foothold in the match.
In a tight fourth set, Medvedev had to be patient and squander eight break points into the set, before finally breaking in the 11th game when he shot a forehand winner down the line. He then held on to love to seal his hard-won victory.
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Cressy entered the fourth round in a major for the first time after beating John Isner, Tomas Machac and Christopher O’Connell in Melbourne. The Paris-born American aspired to become the 80th American man in the Open Era to reach the quarterfinals at a Grand Slam.
Did you know?
Medvedev is the fifth Russian man in the Open Era to reach the quarterfinals at the Australian Open several times, along with Yevgeny Kafelnikov (5), Nikolay Davydenko (4), Aleksandar Metreveli (3) and Marat Safin (3).