Daniil Medvedev has dished out some relationship advice after enjoying a more placid return to Melbourne Park as the Australian Open’s top-ranked man eased into the fourth round.
The No.2 seed, tournament favourite in the absence of Novak Djokovic, beat Dutch danger Botic van de Zandschulp 6-4 6-4 6-2.
Having done his best to ignore a rowdy Rod Laver Arena crowd as he beat Nick Kyrgios on Thursday night, Medvedev admitted post-match those who were heckling him “probably have a low IQ”.
The comments left him open to becoming the tournament’s pantomime villain as he surged towards a second consecutive major title.
But any fears were allayed on Margaret Court Arena on Saturday afternoon, the Russian methodical on court and then playful with the appreciative audience off it.
“I was hoping you were going to be a little bit easier on me guys,” Medvedev smirked in a disarming on-court interview after the win.
“It’s easier to play a guy from Netherlands than a guy from Australia in Melbourne.
“I think every good relationship must have its ups and down … it’s good, it’s entertaining and it’s real.
“There is some relationship going on … hopefully I can come many more years here and hoping it’s going to be more good times than bad times, otherwise it doesn’t work.”
In his fourth consecutive Australian Open round-of-16 appearance, Medvedev will play big-serving American Maxime Cressy for a spot in the quarter-finals.
Van de Zandschulp had lost to Medvedev in the US Open quarters last year, having become the only man to progress to all four majors through qualifying in the same year.
That graft has paid off, the Dutch talent set to move up seven spots to a career-high No.50 in the world despite Saturday’s loss.