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Medvedev rockets into last 16 at Australian Open

XINHUA 徽标 XINHUA 2022/1/22 JacobTomkins
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Daniil Medvedev of Russia reacts during the men's singles 3rd round match against Botic van de Zandschulp of the Netherlands at Australian Open in Melbourne Park, in Melbourne, Australia, Jan. 22, 2022. (Photo by Hu Jingchen/Xinhua)

World No. 2 Daniil Medvedev eases past Botic Van de Zandschulp in straight sets to make it to the last 16, as did world No. 4 Stefanos Tsitsipas and 20-time Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal.

SYDNEY, Jan. 22 (Xinhua) -- World No. 2 Daniil Medvedev breezed past Botic Van de Zandschulp to make the last 16 as the third round of the Australian Open's singles bracket drew to a close on Saturday.

The 25-year-old Russian champion took down the Dutchman in straight sets 6-4, 6-4, 6-2, winning with all the fashion you would expect from the tournament's highest seeded player.

It was the pair's second clash. The Dutchman being the only player to steal a single set from the Russian during his run to clutch the 2021 U.S. Open title.

This put some pressure on Medvedev who is ready to seize his chance for his first Australian Open title, after being beaten out by this year's absent world No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the 2021 final.

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Daniil Medvedev of Russia competes during the men's singles 3rd round match against Botic van de Zandschulp of the Netherlands at Australian Open in Melbourne Park, in Melbourne, Australia, Jan. 22, 2022. (Photo by Hu Jingchen/Xinhua)

Medvedev was at ease after his third-round match, in stark comparison to his frustration facing the volatile Aussie Nick Kyrgios, who played to an overzealous crowd during their round two face-off.

"I was hoping you were going to be a little bit easier on me you guys," he said to the local crowd during his post-match interview after being taunted by Kyrgios fans on Thursday.

"I'll put it this way, it's easier to play a guy from the Netherlands than a guy from Australia in Australia, in Melbourne," he said.

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Botic van de Zandschulp of the Netherlands competes during the men's singles 3rd round match against Daniil Medvedev of Russia at Australian Open in Melbourne Park, in Melbourne, Australia, Jan. 22, 2022. (Photo by Hu Jingchen/Xinhua)

Medvedev is now scheduled to face American young gun Maxime Cressy in the fourth round.

If he moves into the quarterfinals, he could face either Felix Auger-Aliassime, who beat Daniel Evans in straight sets on Saturday, or Marin Cilic who upset world No. 5 Andrey Rublev in their round-three meeting.

Cilic, a runner-up to Roger Federer in Australia in 2018, took down Rublev in an epic battle that dragged out across four sets, 7-5, 7-6 (3), 3-6, 6-3, after closing out the two-hour-and-36-minute game with a center ace.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece celebrates after the men's singles 3rd round match against Benoit Paire of France at Australian Open in Melbourne Park, in Melbourne, Australia, Jan. 22, 2022. (Xinhua/Bai Xuefei)

Past the quarterfinals a number of top players still have the potential to block Medvedev's rush to the top of the podium.

Among them is Greek world No. 4 Stefanos Tsitsipas, who Saturday evening muscled his way through his third round  match against Frenchman Benoit Paire, 6-3, 7-5, 6-7 (2), 6-4.

And with no shortage of motivation, Spanish world No. 6 Rafael Nadal, who will become the man with the most singles Grand Slam titles in history if this year's Australian Open becomes his No. 21. 

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