Daniil Medvedev sees off Nick Kyrgios and takes swipe at ‘low IQ’ crowd |

On Tuesday evening, Nick Kyrgios was leaning into the stands taking swigs of a spectator’s beer. Two days later there was none of the showboating he so relishes at John Cain Arena. “Kyrgios Court”, as he calls it, is not the same as centre court, and a qualifier is not the same as a world No 2.

Against Daniil Medvedev there were none of the cheeky antics displayed as he defeated Brit Liam Broady in the first round. Indeed, any hint of that signature jaunty smile during his more masterful moments – and there were a few during this belter of a second-round battle – vanished during those that were left wanting.

By the end of the two hours and 58 minutes, Medvedev had simply produced more of the former and fewer of the latter. He is, after all, the reigning US Open champion and the tournament favourite. Pre-match, his Australian opponent described him as “probably the best player in the world at the moment”. Which, with the benefit of hindsight, is another way of saying Kyrgios is a pretty good player too.

This 7-6 (1), 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 contest was one of fine margins between two players separated in age by only 18 months. Both boast big serves and a brilliantly varied technical repertoire. Only one has a big personality. And so the home crowd, sold out at 50% capacity, felt every emotion of the man they had come to see, who both celebrated and berated his supporters depending whether he was on the ascension or self-imploding.

Medvedev, conversely, was a picture of unyielding calm, of almost machine-like consistency. In what gear he was operating we may never be sure.

“I think no matter what the score is or how much pressure he’s under, he never kind of gets flustered,” Kyrgios said. “He just has so much belief in his game. I think he led the tour in wins last year. He’s just so confident right now. To be honest, I threw everything I could at him.”

As it turned out, Medvedev simply saved his verbals for the end, when he complained to everyone who would listen that the now-infamous “siuuu” calls which have overtaken Melbourne Park and often came between his serves were disrespectful. “I guess some people just have a low IQ,” he told Eurosport, shortly after writing “siuuuu” on a broadcast camera lens above his signature.

Like other players in the opening days of competition, he thought he had been booed. “[Remaining calm and focused] is the only choice when you get booed between first and second serve. You have to stay calm and win the match,” he told Jim Courier in his on-court interview.

That prompted an avalanche of either boos or siuus, which drowned out Courier’s next question. “Sorry, I can’t hear you. Show some respect for Jim Courier. Let him speak please,” Medvedev added. “If you respect somebody, at least respect Jim Courier.” Cheers followed. The US great was quick on the uptake. “I think they are saying ‘siuuu’ which is a soccer, football, thing … I don’t think they are booing you.”

Nick Kyrgios impressed during two hours and 58 minutes on court against Medvedev but slipped to defeat
Nick Kyrgios impressed during two hours and 58 minutes on court against Medvedev but slipped to defeat. Photograph: Kelly Defina/Getty Images

Kyrgios felt it was the chair umpire’s job “to control the crowd and monitor it” but said the atmosphere was “awesome”.

“You’ve got, like, you know, the most entertaining player playing in his home slam on Rod Laver – you’d expect the crowd to be like that,” he said of himself. “I can understand it’s a gentleman’s game, but it’s about time that people embraced some sort of different energy in this sport, otherwise it will die out.”

On the court, the respect between Kyrgios and Medvedev was evident. That was clear in the way Kyrgios only feigned a tweener in the very first game, rather than actually going through with it. He failed to convert two break points in the second, was broken in the third, lost the fourth almost to love and won the fifth with an underarm serve.

At times Kyrgios hypnotised the Russian with deliberately slow groundstrokes, forcing him to make the first move and then quickening the pace and ferocity in an instant. He toyed with his opponent’s serve, sending down a top-spin forehand, a sliced backhand and then a delicate volley. Medvedev, being Medvedev, responded with two aces (he served 31 all up).

When Kyrgios broke back to level the score at 4-4 it seemed as if something magical might happen. When he lost the tie-break 7-1 a meltdown felt imminent. A spectator squawked for him to “serve underarm” and he gave them an expletive-ridden piece of his mind. The crowd can be inconvenient sometimes.

Medvedev again rose to the occasion in the second set. Up 4-3, he drew Kyrgios in and then spat him back out, sent him scurrying in vain to the baseline for one of the less aesthetically pleasing tweener attempts on his resume – a genuine one this time – before digging his own hole to climb out of. Three deuces later he did, and set about a victory dance, his racket and…

Read More: Daniil Medvedev sees off Nick Kyrgios and takes swipe at ‘low IQ’ crowd |

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