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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Monday January 24, 2022

Daniil Medvedev

Daniil Medvedev was taken to four grinding sets with unseeded American Maxime Cressy, and prevailed to reach the quarterfinals at Melbourne.

Photo Source: Getty

Daniil Medvedev is known for his returning prowess, his versatility and problem-solving skills and all those elements of his game were sternly put to the test on Monday in Melbourne as the No.2-seeded Russian was run ragged by the anachronistic serve-and-volley stylings of unseeded American Maxime Cressy.

Tennis Express

The Russian held his ground, and frantically patrolled the court to zip passing shots every which way but loose against Cressy, but the American made things difficult in all sets but the first, and was close to forcing a fourth-set tiebreaker when Medvedev finally struck a decisive blow to break in the 11th game.

It was the critical blow in Medvedev’s 6-2, 7-6(4), 6-7(4), 7-5 triumph – and it sends the Russian to the quarterfinals at the Australian Open for the second consecutive year. Last year’s Runner-up will face Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime next.

A Frustrating Battle for the No.2 Seed

The break was a long time coming in that fourth set. Medvedev had missed out on his first eight break attempts of the stanza, which were scattered across several games, and he was screaming at the heavens as Cressy kept pulling tricks out of his hat to avert the crisis.

“Fourth set was crazy,” Quipped Medvedev on court after the match. “Every time I had the break point, many times he would have a second serve – and he did many double-faults today – but it would be [on the] line. I wouldn’t able to return it. … I was like ‘When will this end?’”

The Russian, who converted three of 12 break points in total, but only one after the breezy opening set (won 6-2), was forced to conduct a seemingly never ending series of sprints as Cressy charged the net 135 and frequently knocked off picture perfect volleys into the open court.

“It was not easy,” Medvedev said. “Only the first set, I managed to kind of sprint in front of him and kind of win it easy. All the other sets were a tough fight. If I didn’t win the fourth one I would have probably been in tough mental shape because I had so many break points – I just wanted to make one.”

It was an eye-opening performance from Cressy. The American held his own against one of the world’s best players and craftiest returners, and clearly frustrated the Russian throughout the contest.

Playing in only his fourth Grand Slam main draw, it’s not difficult to see the American continuing on his disruptive path, especially at Wimbledon and on the fast-playing courts of the US Open.

Cressy started the season outside the Top-100 but is projected to rank in the Top-60 when new rankings come out after the Australian Open – it will be very interesting to see where he finishes the year.

As for Medvedev, he is right where he wants to be, into the quarterfinals in Melbourne and in possession of a versatile enough game that enables him to avoid getting tripped up against a player like Cressy.

He’ll be happy to face a more traditional baseliner in the next round in Auger-Aliassime, a player that he owns a 3-0 record against, including a 6-4, 6-0 thrashing at this year’s ATP Cup.


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