Russia’s Daniil Medvedev hits a return against Maxime Cressy of the US during their men’s singles match on day eight of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 24, 2022. (AFP)

Title favorite Daniil Medvedev will need to keep his cool Wednesday to reach the semifinals of the Australian Open after a mini-meltdown in the previous round.

Should the Russian second seed get past young Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime in the night match on Rod Laver Arena, then the prize could be a last-four showdown with fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas.

The women’s quarter-finals will wrap up with American Danielle Collins targeting a second Melbourne Park semi-final against giant-killing Frenchwoman Alize Cornet, and Polish seventh seed Iga Swiatek taking on veteran Estonian Kaia Kanepi.

The men’s US Open champion Medvedev knows he needs to keep a lid on his temper, which was pushed to the limit in the last round under severe examination by serve-and-volley specialist Maxime Cressy.

“It was long and it was not easy, they were all tough sets,” said Medvedev after a tetchy performance where he clashed with the umpire, complained of bad luck and screamed “It’s boring!” at Cressy’s relentless tactics behind his big serve.

The US Open champion admitted he was relieved to come through the most severe examination of his title credentials so far.

“If I didn’t win the fourth set I would have been in a tough mental shape,” said Medvedev, the de facto top seed after the deportation of defending champion Novak Djokovic on the eve of the tournament.

He faces ninth seed Auger-Aliassime who took a confidence-boosting win against the 2018 Australian Open finalist Marin Cilic in four sets in the last 16.

“It’s amazing. It puts my belief even higher, I lost three times to Marin in the past, this is my first win against him,” the 21-year-old said.

Fright night

Tsitsipas survived a late-night fright to reach his third Australian Open quarter-final where he has an afternoon encounter with Italian 11th seed Jannik Sinner.

Tsitsipas was staring at defeat 2-1 down before he clawed back to beat the 20th seed Taylor Fritz in five sets of classic punch and counter-punch tennis.

“It was an epic match. I gave everything out on the court today, I am very proud of myself with the way I fought,” said the 23-year-old Tsitsipas.

The 20-year-old Sinner made light of his debut on Rod Laver Arena to end the hopes of Australia’s Alex de Minaur in straight sets and reach the last eight.

“It was a tough test for me, because he’s an incredible player,” said Sinner.

Cornet has reached her first Slam quarter-final at the 63rd attempt, where she will face 27th seed Collins, an Australian Open semi-finalist in 2019.

Asked what her goals were now after reaching a first quarter-final, Cornet replied: “Going further.”

“I mean, I’m not gonna stop now.”

Collins is climbing back up the rankings after “scary” surgery last year for endometriosis.

Her side of the draw has opened up nicely after second seed Aryna Sabalenka, third-ranked Garbine Muguruza, sixth seed Anett Kontaveit and former world number one Simona Halep all exited early.

“I think that all of us can appreciate each other’s toughness and tenacity and what we do,” said Collins of Cornet, with both known for their fierce competitive instincts.

Both the 2020 French Open champion Swiatek, who is just 20 years old, and Kanepi, 16 years her senior, will be in their first Melbourne Park quarter-final.

“When I had that French Open run, it was all pretty surreal,” said Swiatek.

“Right now I feel like I really have to work for it if I want to win another (Slam).”

Kanepi admitted she knew little about her opponent Swiatek.

“I haven’t watched her, I never played her, and I don’t know how her ball feels,” she said. “So we’ll see when I play her. I expect to play good.”

Source: Manila Bulletin (