Medvedev loving it as Melbourne quarter-final beckons
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Melbourne (AFP) – Title favourite Daniil Medvedev gets the chance to deepen his new-found love affair with the Australian Open crowd on Monday as he targets a quarter-final berth.
The Russian world number two won over the Melbourne Park spectators on Saturday as he eased into the last 16 along with fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas -- with the pair seeded to meet in the semi-finals.
First Medvedev must come through against the huge-serving Maxime Cressy, who blasted down 28 aces and made only four double-faults against Australia's Chris O'Connell in his third-round win.
Medvedev, the de facto men's top seed after the deportation of defending champion Novak Djokovic on the eve of the Grand Slam, said some fans at Melbourne Park had a "low IQ" after they barracked him in his win over Australian showman Nick Kyrgios.
But he turned enemies into friends and said he was enjoying his relationship with the Australian fans after he dismissed unseeded Dutchman Botic van de Zandschulp to reach the last 16.
"Every good relationship must have its ups and downs so I think it's good, it's entertaining and it's real, there is some relationship going on," said Medvedev.
Should the Russian beat Paris-born American Cressy he will play either the 2018 Melbourne runner-up Marin Cilic or young Canadian ninth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime.
Greece's Tsitsipas, who is chasing a maiden major, plays American Taylor Fritz in a night match on Rod Laver Arena and is wary of the 20th seed.
"Big server, big hitter," said Tsitsipas. "He has weapons. I will really have to stay consistent and keep pushing him back."
Tsitsipas has weapons of his own -- he did not drop a service game against Benoit Paire in the third round.
"I feel like it's going to be really important to stay consistent with my shots and my serve," he added.
The other last-16 men's match on Monday features Australian hope Alex de Minaur against Italian 11th seed Jannik Sinner.
Sabalenka finds serve
Second seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus managed to rid herself of some of the serving yips that have plagued her early season in a third-round win against Marketa Vondrousova.
She will round off the evening and stay on course for a first major if she can get past unseeded veteran Kaia Kanepi of Estonia.
The reward for the winner will be a quarter-final against seventh seed Iga Swiatek of Poland or Sorana Cirstea of Romania.
Former world number one Simona Halep has barely been troubled, only dropping 12 games in three matches so far.
The Romanian two-time Grand Slam champion will now come up against self-described "dinosaur" Alize Cornet of France, who turned 32 on Saturday and knocked out third seed Garbine Muguruza in the second round.
Halep, who won a warm-up tournament in Melbourne, swatted aside Danka Kovinic -- conqueror of US Open champion Emma Raducanu -- 6-2, 6-1 on Saturday and she looks back to her best after an injury-blighted 2021.
"It's always been a tough match against Alize," she said.
"I expect actually a tough battle. She's fighting till the end and she never gives up. I am the same, so hopefully will be a nice match."
Opening up proceedings on Rod Laver Arena will be American 27th seed Danielle Collins, a semi-finalist in Melbourne three years ago, against Belgium's 19th seed Elise Mertens.
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