In one of the most anticipated third-round clashes at the Australian Open, the 4th seed Daniil Medvedev takes upon the upcoming home star Alexei Popyrin on Rod Laver Arena. Daniil reached the fourth round in Melbourne last year, giving Novak Djokovic a run for his money and hoping to extend his current campaign as long as possible, heading to the event as one of the title favorites together with Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.
On the other hand, Popyrin stunned Dominic Theim at home Major a year ago en route to the third round, repeating that success and standing as one of the youngest players left in the draw together with Andrey Rublev. Daniil and Alexei have already played once before at Wimbledon last year, with the Russian losing the opening set before taking charge in the rest of the encounter for a 6-7, 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 win, hoping for more of the same at Melbourne Park on Saturday against the opponent who will have a massive support from the crowd.
Alexei is aware of the fact he can't do much against Daniil from the baseline, praising the Russian's game and calling him one of the best baseliners in the game at the moment. With that on his mind, the Aussie will try to be super aggressive and throw everything on his opponent, seeking as many free points with his serve as possible and to keep the momentum on his racquet with risky forehands and net rushings that should break Medvedev's rhythm and give him the advantage.
"We're both more comfortable on the baseline, but I'm looking to come in a lot - I'm looking to be aggressive," Popyrin said. "There are a lot of similarities to our game. We've both got big serves and take advantage of that.
My only chance of winning is to be aggressive from start to finish, attacking the net and breaking his rhythm. Not many people can rally with him on the baseline; he is among the best players in the world in that segment. My plan is to come in; if I steer away from that, then I definitely won't win. I have to play my game against him."