Australian Open 2022: Raducanu and Murray out, Medvedev beats Kyrgios – live!

 

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Australian Open 2022: Raducanu and Murray out, Medvedev beats Kyrgios – live!” was written by Daniel Harris (now) and Mike Hytner (earlier), for theguardian.com on Thursday 20th January 2022 11.56 UTC

Halep is giving Haddad Maia hell here, but she eventually wrangles a hold, sealing the deal with a big service winner down the middle. Halep leads 3-1.

Johnson is playing OK, but Sinner is just too good for him and takes the first set 6-2.

Not gonna lie, I absolutely love Halep and her confounding mix of fragility and invincibility. It’s great to see her back, and women’s tennis being as unpredictable as it is, I’d not totally rule her out of title contention. She leads 3-0.

Back on court, Halep has broken Haddad Maia for 2-0, and Sinner is absolutely wasting Johnson, leading 5-1.

So far today (yes, there’s even more to come):

Emma Raducanu lost in three to Danka Kovinic, but was hampered by finger-blisters and raised her reputation even higher with her canniness and tenacity.

Andy Murray was beaten by Taro Daniel in straight sets, but the match was an intense and competitive one.

Aryna Sabalenka’s servve malfunctioned (again), but she made it through, while Garbine Muguruza lost to Alize Cornet.

Sam Stosur, US Open champ in 2011, lost to Anastasia Pavlyuchenova – a defeat that marked the end of her singles career. She received precisely the gratitude you’d expect.

Alex De Minaur is into round three following a straight sets win over Kamil Majchrzak.

And Nick Kyrgios lost to Daniil Medvedev in four thrilling sets and in front of a buzzing crowd, after which Medvedev criticised those cheering his fault. We’ll have a report for you on that presently.

Sinner is a serious player and a potential major winner; Johnson, though no mug, will do well to hang with him, and as I type that, he seals the double break to lead 3-0.

OK, and breathe. But not too much: Sinner and Johnson are away, Sinner leading 2-0 in set one, while Halep and Haddad Maia are about to knock up.

Interviewed on Eurosport, Medvedev continues the teacher vibe, saying he’s not angry just disappointed. He expected a row, playing the home favourite, especially that being Kyrgios, but didn’t like people cheering his faults, surmising that those making the noise “probably have a low IQ”. Or maybe they’re just bad at answering IQ-style questions, who can say.

Anyhow, he says a few years ago he’d have had some tantrums, broken some rackets and shouted at his box for no reason, but he’s more mature now. He didn’t want to lose his serve, and felt a bit in danger in set three, especially with Kyrgios pumping up the crowd, but he came through in set four. He is an absolute player.

This didn’t work.
This didn’t work. Photograph: Asanka Brendon Ratnayake/Reuters

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Medvedev says he came to win and he’s happy he did, his stoic face plastered on. It’s not easy when you get booed between first and second serves, he says, and of course boos follow – Jim Courier says they’re saying “Siuuuuu”, explains it’s a soccer thing, and they continue. Medvedev, though, is naused right up and tells people to show respect for Courier, who won the Aussie Open, even if they don’t have respect for him – it’s a bit supply teacher, but he’s right. Courier then gets nearer to explains again, without chastising the grown adults making it, and Medvedev maintains that it’s distracting, which it is. He thinks he’s got the game to win the thing, but we love tennis because other people do good things, and the crowd warm to him, through the suiuuing. Good for him.

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Daniil Medvedev beats Nick Kyrgios 7-6(1) 6-4 4-6 6-2!

That’s brilliant from Medvedev, riding out the wave of patriotism to impose his superior fitness and class – he meets Gasquet next. But Kyrgios remains a special player and character – he created a proper event there, and loved every second of it. So did we, and all those lucky enough to be there in person.

Daniil Medvedev looks very pleased with himself after beating Nick Kyrgios.
Daniil Medvedev looks very pleased with himself after beating Nick Kyrgios. Photograph: Asanka Brendon Ratnayake/Reuters

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Medvedev gets 0-15, so Kyrgios slams his racket into the court and serves an ace with his new one; of course he does. But Medvedev then moves him side to side before dispensing a disguised drop and Kyrgios doesn’t have the gas to run it down; he knows this is it, going long with a forehand, and that’s two match points and 2-5 15-40…

Medvedev is such a pro, and he races through a love hold sealed with a kiss an ace. He leads 7-6(1) 6-4 4-6 5-2.

Yeah, on Laver, Medvedev digs out a backhand that gives him a break in set four, and at 4-2 he’s just two holds away from the match.

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Emma Raducanu, though. She is an absolute superstar, brimming with talent, mentality and equanimity; we’re going to be seeing a lot more of her.

Emma Raducanu walking off court after defeat.
Emma Raducanu walking off court after defeat. Photograph: James Gourley/REX/Shutterstock

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Kovinic looks emotional, saying it was amazing and that she really enjoyed the match – she’s been waiting a long time to get to this stage of a major. She’s glad she showed she can play at a high level and was low on energy in the third set, so didn’t want to show emotion in order to conserve what she had. Well done her.

Back on Laver, we’re on serve in set four, Medvedev leading 3-2 and by two sets to one.

Danka Kovinic beats Emma Raducanu 6-4 4-6 6-3!

That was a bazzing match – well played both – and Kovinic meets Halep or Haddad Maia next. She’s mever made the last 32 of a Slam before.

Danka Kovinic celebrates after beating Emma Raducanu.
Danka Kovinic celebrates after beating Emma Raducanu. Photograph: Martin Keep/AFP/Getty Images

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She needs a first serve, can’t find one, and Raducanu waits for her, slamming a forehand down the line and into the corner! But what a backhand down the line Kovinic finds at 40-30!

Even if Raducanu loses here, her stock will rise – her gutsiness and intelligence mark her as very special – but though she makes 0-15, Kovinic clatters a forehand winner to draw level in the game. Next, she dredges up an ace, Raducanu nets a backhand, and after two hours 37 minutes, Kovinic has two match points…

Lovely hands at the net from Raducanu, giving her 15-0, and she quickly makes 40-15, securing the hold when Kovinic races in to meet a poor drop, only to blaze wide. Kovinic leads 5-3 in the decider, and will now serve for the biggest win of her career.

Kovinic holds to love, and she’s a game away from round three.

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So, Kovinic leads Raducanu 6-4 4-6 4-2 and Medvedev leads Kyrgios 7-6(1) 6-4 4-6 1-0.

Danka Kovinic takes control of the final set.
Danka Kovinic takes control of the final set. Photograph: Martin Keep/AFP/Getty Images

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Raducanu is hitting again, but will have to go through deuce for her hold. Meanwhile, Kyrgios ignores Medvedev’s opening ace to pounce on a short serve and make 30-40 with a forehand winner! He then out-thinks Medvedev at the net, earning the chance to hit a winner from the back … only to swipe it wide! But a double follows, so we go again, while Kovinic breaks Raducanu with a lob, presented to her by a tame forehand! It’s all going on, and as I type that, Medvedev seals his hold.

Medvedev disappears to change clothes, so the crowd enjoy a boogie. I’d still expect him to resolve things in this set, but…

It must be distracting for Medvedev, having to compete in the party atmosphere Kyrgios has created. He’s not done anything to set the crowd against him – they’re just for their man – but it’s so unusual to see this kind of thing in tennis that he won’t be impervious to it.

Raducanu is now less vex, punishing a love break-back! Her ability to deliver under pressure, oof madone!

Another massive serve, this one down the middle, a drop, and Kyrgios wins set three! That is incredible, 15 minutes ago he looked absolutely bushed, but there’s your Kyrgiosian paradox yet again. Medvedev leads 7-6(1)6-4 4-6.

Raducanu will be vex if she loses from here, having fought so hard only to cede a break with carelessness on her decent wing. A bird turns up, so there’s a short recess, while on Laver a booming first serve from Kyrgios gives him set point!

Kyrgios is in the zone, a lovely touch giving him 15-0 before he nets a forehand; Raducanu, meanwhile, nets a backhand, her third error of the game on that wing, and Kovinic has 3-1 in the decider!

Kovinic makes 0-30, Raducanu looking ragged for the first time, and when she blazes a backhand wide, she faces three break points…

Kyrgios really is the consummate showman, but he’s not short of substance either; he’ll have to serve for the set, though, because Medvedev holds easily, doing well to keep concentration in the maelstrom.

Kyrgios

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Laver is buzzing and Kyrgios is noising them up something fierce, a tweener setting up a winner that somehow passes through Medvedev for 40-15; I’m not sure any other player takes any of the three points he’s won this game, but this isn’t any other player, and he quickly sealsthe consolidation! Kyrgios leads 5-3, while Kovinic holds for 2-1.

Oh my days, huge net-battles in both matches! Raducanu wins one for 15-40 and Kyrgios wins the other, via gorgeous forehand, for the same! The crowd on Laver go wild … and wilder still when, after Medvedev claws back a point, Kyrgios comes to the net, runs across a passing shot, leaps, plays a hip-high volley, and sets off a lap of honour which he ends with some dancing! He leads 4-3 with a break, while Raducanu and Kovinic are still at it, now at deuce.

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Kyrgios serves three aces and holds for 3-3 – Medvedev did likewise in the previous game – and he’s making a fight of things, but having to constantly come from behind is very wearing.

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Raducanu holds to 30, and she’s hitting that forehand now. I’m not sure if it’s the painkillers, if the pain’s dulled, or if she’s got used to hitting through it, but she’s looking pretty good.

Medvedev is so solid, and he now leads 3-2 in set three. After that match, we’ve got Halep v Hadad Maia, while after Kovinic v Raducanu, we’ve got Johnson v Sinner. It’s ridiculous!

Kovinic goes long with a backhand down the line, handing Raducanu 30-40, then a forehand belted cross-court flies past her … and drops just out! Deuce, and Kovinic hangs on for 1-0 in the decider.

I hate to say it, but Kovinic will be feeling extremely frazzled. She didn’t make the most of a gifted opportunity, failing to exploit her opponent’s injury – it was almost like she didn’t know about it – and will now be feart that her chance has gone.

What’s great about Raducanu – well, a lot – but she’s able to do what Daniel was talking about earlier, to compete with intensity and equanimity, simultaneously.

Emma

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As that set finished, Kyrgios was berating the umpire, but I’m not sure why. Kovinic, meanwhile, has gone off, presumably to get her heed straight, because she’ll feel like she missed an open goal. But Raducanu’s injury actually made her harder to read, especially when the drive-forehand returned, and the way she laughed her way through adversity must’ve been pretty disconcerting.

Kovinic makes 0-30 but a drop-lob combo, followed by a banging forehand, haul Raducanu level. Then, at 30-40, another drop sets up the put-away, and this is another tremendous match. A big serve then earns advantage and set point – Raducanu is some competitor – and Kovinic goes long on the forehand! Somehow, Raducanu wins set two and we’ve got waselves the decider we deserve! Kovinic 6-4 4-6 Raducanu

We go to a final set!
We go to a final set! Photograph: Ella Ling/REX/Shutterstock

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Serving at 4-5, Kyrgios faces 0-30, a delectable drop closing the gap. But Medvedev wins the next point and now has two goes at taking the set … missing a straightforward volley on the first. Kyrgios, though, goes long with a backhand, and given how little he’s played lately, and that he’s recovering from corona, it’s hard not to see this match as over. Kyrgios (1)6-7 4-6 Medvevev

From 40-15, Raducanu fights back, finding a booming forehand to raise break point and looking mystified in the aftermath. She can’t force it home, but then finds another, laughing away – this must be pretty disconcerting for Kovinic, who finally settled into her diet of backhand and slice, only for everything to change. And this time, Raducanu directs her around the court before panelling a forehand down the line to seal the break! She’ll now serve for set two!

Emma Raducanu returns as the sun goes down in Melbourne Park.
Emma Raducanu returns as the sun goes down in Melbourne Park. Photograph: Loren Elliott/Reuters

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“Huge respect for Andy,” emails Thomas Harrington, “but after this defeat, he seriously needs to consider giving up competing in Grand Slams (with the exception of Wimbledon of course). To be struggling like this in a second-round match again is not good, the physicality of best of five sets in a Slam make it impossible for him to be competitive in this format now, and the damage it could do to his hip and surrounding area, who knows?

He needs to concentrate on best of three tournaments – he showed last week he can still compete and still be competitive, there are more tournaments for him to win still BUT only in ATP events, and he needs to start prioritising those events in order to prolong his career, I hope he does.”

You tell him! I’m sure he’s investigated how competing will affect his body, and my guess is he’s still enjoying it – I’m certainly enjoying watching him – and you’re a long time retired. When you’re that kind of competitor, I doubt you can get properly going unless it’s a major.

Well done Nick Kyrgios! Eventually, he hangs on, prancing with joy then noising up the crowd – it’s great to see. Medevedev leads 7-6(1) 4-4.

Raducanu slams a drive-volley wide, giving Kovinic 30-all, a fine leaping backhand volley raises break point, and it’s quickly snaffled. We’re now at 4-4 in set two, and though it must be tiring for Kovinic to generate power of slices, she seems to have things worked out now.

…which Kovinic wins, and she quickly closes out through deuce. Back on Laver, meanwhile, Kyrgios is serving at 0-30, 3-4 down in set two, and though he soon makes 40-30, Medvedev whips a forehand winner onto the line for deuce and we begin some back and forth. But Medevedev looks a lot fitter, and however this game shakes out, it’s hard to seethis going more than four sets, max.

What’s so noticeable here is the way Raducanu has adapted her game to play the shots she can play, using wiles and touch to manipulate the ball and move Kovinic around the court. And have a look! A backhand winner, thunked cross-court, gives her 0-30, and though Kovinic fights back to 30-all, an error hands over a point for the double break…

Back on Court, Raducanu has just fought through deuces to hang onto her break; she leads 4-2 in set two, first set Kovinic 6-4.

Emma Raducanu is fighting back.
Emma Raducanu is fighting back. Photograph: Andy Brownbill/AP

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Daniel meets Johnson or Sinner next, and looks every bit as happy as he should, happiness most of us will never know. He’s into round three of a major for the first time, and says it’s amazing to win in front of so many people. “Amazing level from me,” he declares – not words I’ve ever uttered, or at least ever had cause to utter – and he was telling himself “It’s important but it’s not important”. I’ve not heard him interviewed before, he seems a very nice boy, and says he got goosebumps a few times in the match when the crowd were going mad. Tomorrow he’ll take a break “to feel myself”, then get ready for Saturday. I enjoyed that – it’s so great to see Murray competing with so much intensity – and enjoyed Daniel just as much.

Taro Daniel beats Andy Murray 6-4 6-4 6-4!

On match point, he serves and volleys for the first time – great thinking, colossal stones – and puts away a winner to send him through! He’s been so good today.

Taro Daniel goes through against Andy Murray in straight sets.
Taro Daniel goes through against Andy Murray in straight sets. Photograph: Paul Crock/AFP/Getty Images

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Murray-Daniel has been an excellent tussle, and when Murray makes a volley for 15-all, Daniel will be wondering … wondering how to dematerialise another ace, down the middle – his fourth of the set! Murray then nets a backhand, having done well to play himself into the rally, Daniel, who’s won four matches to get to this stage, now has two match points!

We’re on serve in set two of Medvedev-Kyrgios, the former leading 7-6(1) 2-1.

A lovely backhand drop gives Daniel 15-30, and might this be his chance to finish things? Maybe! He wins a duel at the net – not something that’s happened often, if at all in the match – raising two break points! He loses the first when netting a backhand … but then Murray nets! In 90 seconds, Daniel will serve for the match at 6-4 6-4 5-4! He’s done brilliantly in this set, doing just enough to avoid being broken and waiting for his moment. Well, here it is! Can he hold it down?

Raducanu consolidates for 2-0, but Kovinic is keeping things social by giving her backhands to hit. It’s also worth noting, though, that Raducanu has things worked out a little, and she ties Kovinic in knots at the net, forcing her to attempt a forehand on her backhand side, leaning across herself. She holds, though, for 1-2, while Daniel battles to a crucial hold and 4-4 against Murray, finding a wondrous backhand down the line on gamepoint.

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Medvedev gives Kyrgios a proper sonning off in the breaker, taking it 7-1. He leads by one set to love.

Murray, meanwhile, digs deeper than the earth’s core to make 4-3 through deuce. I am in awe of that man for so many reasons, many of them totally unrelated to tennis, but his ability and desire to compete are spectacular.

This man has a metal hip. Unreal.
This man has a metal hip. Unreal. Photograph: James Gourley/REX/Shutterstock

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Medvedev leads Kyrgios 2-1 in the breaker, on serve, then wins the next two points on Kyrgios’. That’s 4-1 him, and you’d think that’ll be enough for the set, even with the Kyrgiosian paradox.

Raducanu is struggling, unable to put any pop on her forehand. I’m not sure if she’s taken painkillers, or if painkillers even work kill that kind of pain, but if she has, she should be coming up on them soon; can she stay in the match for long enough, or win two sets with her backhand and forehand slice? A colossal serve from Kovinic saves a break point, but then she rams a backhand in the pillar and goes wide with another! Raducanu breaks for 1-0, first set 6-4 Kovinic.

Emma Raducanu breaks in the first game of the second set.
Emma Raducanu breaks in the first game of the second set. Photograph: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

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Excellent from Daniel, a slower serve out wide surprising Murray and clinching another crucial hold. Murray will return to the well, but he’s running out of road; it’s 3-3 in set three.

OH MY DAYS! Daniel clatters a backhand down the line, but Murray’s at the net and on the stretch to guide a volley back into the centre of the court. He really is an unbelievable athlete. But it only gives him 15-all and Daniel wins the next three points … but Murray hangs in there, making deuce with another fine volley! Back on Laver, Kyrgios now leads 6-5…

Kovinic breaks Raducuanu to love, and from 0-3 down, takes the first set 6-4! Women’s tennis is so so good.

This is just ridiculous – there’s so much going on I don’t know what to do with myself. On Laver, three games in a row from Kyrgios give him 5-4, and Medvedev is now serving to stay in set one.

Raducanu has decided to go for it, Wawrinka-style, and a backhand down the line gets her 0-40. Kovinic closes to 15-40, but then goes long with a backhand of her own; Raducanu will now serve to stay in the first set at 4-5.

Murray’s coming to the net much more often now, and after two sets finally looks settled into the match; he holds for 3-2. Meanwhile, Raducanu finds a lovely forehand slice for 0-30…

On which point, she’s really struggling here, broken again; she’s got blisters right where she holds the racket, and Kovinic is now serving for the set at 5-3.

The blister on Emma Raducanu’s right hand. Ouch.
The blister on Emma Raducanu’s right hand. Ouch. Photograph: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

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“Not sure that Raducanu has sorted out the mental side of her game,” emails Phil Russell, “so much as decided she will just turn up when it’s a Slam, which is frankly something we can all learn from.”

That’s part of it, though. Working out how to produce her best when it matters most, and that she needs to be fresh todo that.

Murray is definitely on top here, beginning to open his shoulders and let the forehand go. But when he forces Daniel to go long, raising another break point, an unforced error hands him deuce … and when he plays a terrific backhand approach, Daniel somehow spirits a floaty winner down the line! That’s a great shot, though Murray might rue not anticipating it – I’m not sure the volley was beyond him. And when he misses another volley, his chance evaporates and we’re at 2-2 in set three, first two to Daniel.

Where else can you get cod philosophy and tennis? Exactly.

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Back on laver, Kyrgios has just broken Medvedev for 4-4. I did not see that coming, except I did see it coming because it’s Kyrgios, so that which one doesn’t see coming is therefore coming, the Kyrgiosian paradox.

A riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.
A riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma. Photograph: Ella Ling/REX/Shutterstock

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Eesh, Kovinic breaks again, to love, and Raducanu is struggling with her forehand in particular, unable to flow through the ball. On the opposite wing, she’s got a double fist to help, but I doubt Kovinic obliges her with many balls down that side. It’s now 3-3 in set one.

Ach, while I was investigating the aforementioned fingers, Murray ceded his hard-earned break in self-flagellatingly tame fashion. Still, he’ll feel more in the match than at any previous stage.

While all that was going on, Kovinic retrieved a break from Raducanu who, at 3-2, has the trainer out strapping her fingers.

I’ve got blisters on my fingers!
I’ve got blisters on my fingers! Photograph: Loren Elliott/Reuters

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Murray spanks a forehand, taken nice and early, to seal the first game of set three. That should give him some confidence, because he needs to attack Daniel to have any kind of chance here. Thing is, Daniel has and is serving beautifully, unloading the suitcase … but at 30-0 Murray plays him, drawing him to the net then running in for the pass, before a decent return eventually gives him 30-all, and when he comes to the net again, a volley forces Daniel to dump one! For the first time, the pressure looks like it’s telling … but Daniel finds a first serve and Murray nets cross-court for deuce. He’s created a fair few opportunities so far, but hasn’t been good enough to take them at the crucial moments … and here’s another! This time he gets a second serve to attack, he steps in … and Daniel, perhaps enticed to put more on it, goes long! Murray is some competitor, but Daniel still leads 6-4 6-4 0-2!

By the way, Auger-Aliassime meets Dan Evans next – that’ll be a jazzer – and Paire meets Tsitsipas. Don’t mind if we do!

Oooh yeah! Benoît Paire, one of the great can’t be arsed mavericks, has beaten Grigzy Dimitrov in four! He looks pretty pleased about it, which is lovely to see – how he uses his talent is none of my business, but I’m glad he’s feeling fulfilled by victory.

Benoit Paire beats Dimitrov to advance to the third round.
Benoit Paire beats Dimitrov to advance to the third round. Photograph: Tertius Pickard/AP

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Raducanu has broken Kovinic again, and looks very nicely grooved. It’s frankly ridiculous how good she is, and how sorted she has the mental game of progressing through the rounds with minimum fuss but maximum prejudice.

This is terrific from Daniel, finding that first serve while Murray struggles for consistency. He gets to 30-0, then curls one off the frame and onto the line for three set points! when it’s your day it’s your day, and another big serve is all he needs! Murray 4-6 4-6 Daniel

Murray goes two sets down.
Murray goes two sets down. Photograph: James Gourley/REX/Shutterstock

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Raducanu has consolidated for 2-0 and Medvedev for 3-1, both in set one.

Murray holds to 15, forcing Daniel to serve for 2-0 following a sit-down. He’s held it together really well so far, and this game will be about getting his first go in. If he can, he’s nearly through; if he can’t Murray will drag him into deep waters.

Anyone got a spare eye? Kyrgios has just saved two break points, before going long, and now trails Medvedev 1-2, while Raducanu has broken Kovinic in game one and Auger-Aliassime has beaten Davidovich Fokina 7-6(4) in the fifth of five tiebreaks. Phew. I hurt just thinking about it (and because I’m hurting because I’m old).

And 30-0, Daniel nets a backhand; can Murray get into the rallies and make him wonder? He cannot, a big serve inciting a netted return and another ace sealing the deal. He leads 6-4 5-3 and is playing superbly here.

Medvedev races through deuce to hold while, on Court, Raducanus and Kovinic are away.

Emma Raducanu is in action against Kovinic.
Emma Raducanu is in action against Kovinic. Photograph: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

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Excellent from Murray, coming back from 0-30 with four points in a row, spurred by an ace; he’s going to make Daniel work for this while, on Laver, Medvedev has just saved two points to stop Kyrgios breaking him as the first time of asking.

Murray misses a chance for 30-all, and at 40-15, Daniel mashes an ace down the middle to lead 4-2 in set two.

Also going on: Emma Raducanu will soon be away against Danka Kovinic, so i’ll be watching that one too. Life is good!

Elsewhere, a brutal match between Davidovich Fokina and Auger-Aliassime is nearly over; they’re in the final set playing their fifth breaker of the match, and it’s 2-2, four hours 14 minutes in. Expletive ouch.

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Murray is struggling here, a blazing backhand down the line giving Daniel 30-all and second later Murray is facing a break point that’d mean four games lost in a row. Murray, though, isn’t going away, and forces a long backhand, then manufactures a volley at the net, fashioning a winner from a ball smacked right at him, to save a further break point. Back and forth we go, before a Daniel backhand return flies wide, and Murray is still alive; of course he is. What a ridiculous competitor and human being! Still, Daniel leads 6-4 3-2.

andy

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Thanks Mike and morning, afternoon and evening all. Daniil Medvedev and Nick Kyrgios are making their way onto court, so I’ll be watching them as well as Murray and Daniel, but know that Daniel has just consolidated to lead 6-4 3-1.

Second set: Murray 4-6, 1-2 Daniel* (*denotes next server) Murray falls to 15-30 and then has a word with the umpire about something before settling back into his service stance. Is he rattled? He could be. Daniel on the other hand appears invigorated by that previous hold and he manages to break, securing the game with a backhand winner.

And with that, I’ll hand you over to Daniel Harris who will take you through the evening session, which is under way with some tasty encounters. Bye for now.

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Second set: *Murray 4-6, 1-1 Daniel (*denotes next server) An epic hold for Daniel in an 11 minute 36 second game! The Japanese, for the first time, lets his high level momentarily slip early on. He falls to 15-40. But he saves the first break point with an overhead that a scrambling Murray cannot reach, before a wicked forehand sets up another overhead winner – and saves another break point. Murray jumps on the overhead bandwagon at deuce and he has another break chance. A brain fade robs the Scot though – he opts for a cute backhand drop shot as he runs towards the net, which falls short but he makes up for it on the second deuce with a soft hands at the net. Break point No 4. My goodness, Daniel lands a pearler of a drop shot! We continue until finally, after four deuces, 16 points and a total of four break points saved, Daniel holds serve.

Taro Daniel celebrates a massive hold on his serve.
Taro Daniel celebrates a massive hold on his serve. Photograph: Daniel Pockett/Getty Images

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Second set: Murray 4-6, 1-0 Daniel* (*denotes next server) Back to the game on John Cain Arena, where Murray is facing an examination of his serve. He needs just under three minutes to pass.

The players change over… which gives me time to remind you that the Women’s Ashes begins today, more specifically in about half an hour. If cricket’s your thing, you can join my colleague Tanya Aldred for every ball of the first T20 of the series:

First set: *Murray 4-6 Daniel (*denotes next server) Daniel is very impressive once more as he secures the first set! At 30-0 he advances to the net to finish off in clinical fashion and bring up three set points… he needs just one of them, an ace sealing the deal. High quality tennis from the world No 120, and Murray will have to come from behind if he is to progress.

First set: Murray 4-5 Daniel* (*denotes next server) Murray hangs onto Daniel’s coattails with a hold. But the Japanese will now serve for the opening set.

Meanwhile, bored of the Djokovic saga? Strap yourselves in…

First set: *Murray 3-5 Daniel (*denotes next server) Another two break points fall Murray’s way, but he can’t convert this time as Daniel rallies, firing a forehand winner before Murray returns into the net. The Japanese has 1o winners to his name so far.

First set: Murray 3-4 Daniel* (*denotes next server) A perfectly-executed drop shot from Daniel puts him 30-15 up on Murray’s serve. The Scot then finds the net with a regulation forehand – and he’s apoplectic about the mistake and the position it puts him in. Break point for Daniel… and a double fault at this stage certainly doesn’t help Murray’s mood. The Japanese breaks through again!

First set: *Murray 3-3 Daniel (*denotes next server) Murray has a chance to break back but he squanders it with a weak volley with an open court at his mercy. Daniel gets there and saves the break – Murray should have finished that off, no question. He gets another chance soon enough though, and this time he takes it, a lovely sliced backhand setting it up. We’re back on serve in the first!

Andy Murray breaks back!
Andy Murray breaks back! Photograph: James Gourley/REX/Shutterstock

Updated

First set: Murray 2-3 Daniel* (*denotes next server) Of course Murray was involved in an epic opener on Tuesday – five sets of high drama against Nikoloz Basilashvili. How much will that encounter impact him today? We’ll find out soon enough, but for now he holds, to love, without expending too much energy.

First set: *Murray 1-3 Daniel (*denotes next server) Murray’s off with a few of groundstrokes here as Daniel consolidates his break and opens up a two-game lead early on in this first set.

First set: Murray 1-2 Daniel* (*denotes next server) An epic game that lasts nearly 14 minutes! Murray gets funky at the outset with a drop shot – Daniel reaches it, but his ball in out at the baseline, before the Japanese pulls out a sensational backhand to force deuce. Some of his shotmaking so far has been very impressive. Murray then faces break point but saves it with an unreturnable serve before the Scot shows he’s capable of making some nice shots too, with a couple of forehand winners including one down the line on the fourth deuce of the game. The game continues to swing back and forth, Murray is forced to save a second break point, Daniel accidentally smashes the ball into the umpire in her chair, we go to more deuces and when a third break chance comes along, Daniel pounces!

First set: *Murray 1-1 Daniel (*denotes next server) And a comfortable start for Daniel on his serve. He holds to love.

First set: Murray 1-0 Daniel* (*denotes next server) Off we go then, with the sun squeezed out beyond the tramlines at this time of day on Rod Laver. Murray holds his first service game, although Daniel gives an indication of what’s he’s capable of at 0-40 down with a ferocious forehand winner. No dramas for Murray though.

Oh dear, the first “siuuus” heard, and we haven’t even started yet.

In-form 12th seed Elena Rybakina was forced to retire from her match against China’s Zhang Shuai due to injury. The Kazakh player was trailing 6-4, 1-0 when she had to throw in the towel, and that early finish is why we are about to welcome Murray and Daniel onto John Cain Arena on time. That match about to start shortly, with the players just being introduced onto court (Murray gets a huge cheers from what looks like a decent crowd – pretty near to the 50% capacity by my reckoning).

And while we’re on the subject of local hopes, Alex De Minaur is safely into the third round, posting a comfortable 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 win over Kamil Majchrzak on Rod Laver Arena. De Minaur next plays Pablo Andújar.

“I know Pablo very well,” De Minaur said. “I’ve hit a lot with him. You know, he’s a terrific competitor. He’s had some amazing wins. So, it’s a great position for me to be in. Look, I’m just enjoying it every second of it. Keeping the positive vibes going and hopefully…”

De Minaur said his plans for this evening involve Nick Kyrgios.

“Of course I’m tuning in! I’m pretty sure all of Australia is tuning in! It is going to be a hell of a match. Expect, you know, showtime from Nick. Expect one of the most solid guys on tour with Daniil. It will be a popcorn match. I’m definitely not going to miss it.”

Also earlier today, local favourite Sam Stosur’s singles career finally came to an end with defeat to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. The former US Open champion lost 6-2, 6-2 but was showered with tributes after the match.

She bows out as a true great of Australian tennis, writes my colleague Emma Kemp:

Updated

Briefly, the tale of the tape so far on day four of the 2022 Australian Open (courtesy of Reuters):

  • Third seed Garbine Muguruza, a runner-up at Melbourne Park two years ago, suffered a shock 6-3, 6-3 defeat at the hands of French veteran Alize Cornet.
    “Today, I stepped on the court thinking I’d have fun. That’s the best way I play. There was a lack of fun sometimes in my 16-year career. But right now I want to enjoy it,” Cornet said.
    “I don’t know how many years I have left. Today was a perfect gift.”
    Joining Muguruza in making an early exit was sixth seed Anett Kontaveit, who lost 6-2 6-4 to 19-year-old Clara Tauson – the girls’ singles champion at Melbourne Park in 2019.
  • Former French Open champion Iga Swiatek booked her place in the third round, the seventh seed advancing with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Sweden’s Rebecca Peterson.
  • Britain’s Dan Evans, the number 24 seed, moved through to the next round after his opponent, Arthur Rinderknech, pulled out with a wrist injury.
  • Last year’s quarter-finalist Andrey Rublev made short work of Ricardas Berankis with a 6-4, 6-2, 6-0 win over the unseeded Lithuanian to reach the third round for the fourth time. The Russian fifth seed next meets Marin Cilic who beat Norbert Gombos 6-2, 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(6).
  • Diego Schwartzman, seeded 13th, fell to a 7-6(6) 6-4 6-4 defeat against world number 175 Christopher O’Connell, while Maxime Cressy outclassed Tomas Machac 6-1, 3-6, 6-1, 7-6(5) to reach the third round of a major for the first time.
  • Second see Aryna Sabalenka surrendered the opening set, like she did in her opener, before outclassing China’s Wang Xinyu 1-6 6-4 6-2 on Rod Laver Arena to reach the third round.
  • Local wildcard Maddison Inglis followed up her victory over US Open runner-up Leylah Fernandez with a 7-6(4), 2-6, 6-2 win over American qualifier Hailey Baptiste.
  • Daria Kasatkina eased past Magda Linette 6-2 6-3 to set up a third-round clash with seventh seed Iga Swiatek. Kasatkina has beaten the former French Open champion in three sets when they faced off for the first time in Eastbourne last year.

Preamble

Here we go again. Day four at Melbourne Park and the tennis is relentless. We’ll immediately turn our focus to five-time finalist Andy Murray and his second-round encounter with Taro Daniel. It’s wildcard v qualifier, and given it’s Murray, entertainment is virtually guaranteed (most probably over the course of five sets).

The evening session on Rod Laver Arena kicks off with a blockbuster between Daniil Medvedev and Nick Kyrgios, while across Melbourne Park on Margaret Court Arena US Open champion Emma Raducanu continues her bid to win a second grand slam against Danka Kovinic. Plus lots, lots more.

Feel free to email or tweet @mike_hytner if you have anything to get off your chest. Otherwise, let’s crack on.

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