MELBOURNE (Reuters) -World number two Daniil Medvedev felt he was at his best during his 6-4 6-4 6-2 win over Dutch Botic van de Zandschulp on Saturday as the Russian reached the Australian Open fourth round to stay on track for a second successive Grand Slam title.
Van de Zandschulp, ranked 57th in the world, was the only player to take a set off the Russian when the pair clashed in their previous meeting at last year's U.S. Open, which Medvedev went on to win for his first major title.
Medvedev, the highest-ranked player remaining in the men's draw due to the absence of Serb Novak Djokovic, made it look easy on Saturday, breaking his opponent's serve four times in the match to win in under two hours at the Margaret Court Arena.
"Today was I think the best match because, to be honest, the score doesn't say everything about the match," he told reporters.
"Botic played really good. I even want to say he played ... better than in U.S. Open but maybe served a little bit worse, and that's where I took my chances. Almost like every game where I could break him I managed to do it.
"And, yeah, pretty happy about my level. Served well. Didn't get broken, even if he had opportunities. Was running pretty well. Yeah, was doing some good shots."
The Russian, who is no stranger to crowd hostility, hit out at the spectators after his previous match following a tough outing at the Rod Laver Arena when he defeated mercurial Australian Nick Kyrgios.
Medvedev did not have any such trouble against the Dutchman and also had some relationship advice for the spectators.
"I think every good relationship must have its ups and downs," Medvedev, who famously got on the wrong side of the crowd at the 2019 U.S. Open, becoming the player the Flushing Meadows fans loved to hate, said on court amid wide applause.
"I didn't have any issues except the one small thing, which is (disturbance between) first and second serve," the Russian later added. "I like coming to Australia, I feel like people support me in general here.
"I want to even say feeling in a way like home. Every January you are here ... so I do think it's much more ups than downs with Australian crowd."
Against Van de Zandschulp, the Russian saved all three break points he faced. While he managed to hit two fewer winners than his 26-year-old opponent's 28, Medvedev stayed clinical - totalling 13 fewer unforced errors.
For a place in the quarter-finals, the 2021 Melbourne Park finalist will next meet American Maxime Cressy, who defeated Australian wildcard Christopher O'Connell 6-2 6-7(6) 6-3 6-2.
(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly; editing by Ken Ferris)