Daniil Medvedev faced a different challenge at the Australian Open Monday, but once again he found the answers to reach the quarter-finals in Melbourne for the second time.
The second seed survived a serve-and-volley onslaught from a resilient Maxime Cressy, downing 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 looked to find the toes of the incoming 6’ 6” Cressy, who charged the net throughout. The Russian crucially saved one set point on serve at 5-6, 30/40 in the second set, raising his level in the key moments, while showing patience to maintain his Australian Open title bid.
“He really did [serve and volley] well,” Medvedev said. “First set I had control, but the second set I didn’t manage to break him but won the tie-break and just wanted to continue this way. When I lost the third [set] and when I had eight break points in the fourth set, I was like, 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 had success this season, with the World No. 70 reaching the Melbourne Summer Set final, before advancing to the last 16 here at Melbourne Park.
The 24-year-old, who won 66 per cent (89/135) of net points against Medvedev, put pressure on the Russian throughout, but could ultimately not find a way past the World No. 2, with Medvedev blunting Cressy’s attack with brutal ball striking in their first ATP Head2Head meeting.
With his victory, the 25-year-old extended his recent strong hard-court major record. The 13-time tour-level titlist went 13-1 at the Australian Open and US Open in 2021, winning his maiden Grand Slam crown in New York.
The Russian, who has dropped just two sets so far in Melbourne, reached the championship match at the Australian Open last season (l. to Djokovic) but will aim to go one step further this week, next facing ninth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime after the Canadian defeated Croatian Marin Cilic 2-6, 7-6(7), 6-2, 7-6(4).
In a fast start against Cressy, Medvedev broke in the third game to gain early control. In a strong first-set performance, the Russian did not face a break point and played with consistency off the ground, committing just one unforced error to move ahead.
Cressy was able to stay with the Russian in the second set though to halt Medvedev’s rhythm, winning 85 per cent (22/26) of his first-serve points. He conjured up 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 court well to eventually flick a winner past Cressy after a brutal exchange.
The World No. 2 made use of his lifeline, raising his level in the tie-break to go further clear. But Cressy refused to go away, punching volleys through the court as he reduced the deficit, winning four straight points from 3/4 in the third-set tie-break to gain a foothold in the match.
In a tight fourth set, Medvedev had to remain patient, squandering eight break points in the set, before he finally broke in the 11th game when he fired a forehand winner down the line. He then held to love to seal his hard-fought win.
Cressy was competing in the fourth round at a major for the first time, having defeated John Isner, Tomas Machac and Christopher O’Connell in Melbourne. The Paris-born American was aiming to become the 80th American man in the Open Era to reach the quarter-finals at a Grand Slam.
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