Friday's action in men's round 3 of Australian Open was a mix of interesting battles and surprising results. We could expect some emotions on the basis of exciting matchups, which delivered notable settlements as expected.
Hubert Hurkacz defeated Denis Shapovalov in a five-setter, which was considered as the tightest quality contest on paper before the start of Round 3. First two sets were plenty of twists, as both players were stealing the opponent's service games from one side to another. First set brought 4 breaks with a tiebreak won by Hurkacz 7-3. Second one consideres as many as 5 breaks, but it was Hurkacz who came back from being back from the start, winning 3 service games of his opponent in a row, extending the set score to 2-0. Third set gave change of momentum, as the Pole lost his service consistency and allowed Shapovalov to close the gap to one set, with easy 6-1 for Canadian. Fourth set started simillary, as Hurkacz lost his serve again in third game. He brought back his quality then, but it was too late and comeback of the Canadian came true. Shapovalov started the deciding set as a favorite, having the momentum, but Hurkacz broke him for a score 4-2 and did not give away final victory till the end. The Pole was in a huge trouble in the last game of a match, being 0-40 down and defending 4 breakpoints, but the combination of great services and winners secured him from bottling the advantage. It's one of the most valuable wins in the history of Grand Slam appearances for Hurkacz, who had quite a bad memories from previous tournaments in Melbourne, being upset in lower ranked player in opening rounds a couple of times.
Hurkacz has quite a rough draw in AO 2023, as he needed to fight in five-setter against dangerous Italian, Lorenzo Sonego in previous round as well. It was possible, that his next opponent will be Daniil Medvedev. Last year's finalist had a tough opponent to overcome, as he was playing Sebastian Korda today. Korda started the season really well, being a part of a great tennis spectacle during the ATP 250 Adelaide final, when he challenged Novak Djokovic for the title. Despite that, Medvedev was a big favorite ahead of today's clash, with average odd 1.21. It has not materialized though, as the American imposed tough conditions on the Russian from the start. Both players were quite vulnerable on serve and tiebreak was needed to decide first set after 6 breaks in general. It was also a rollercoaster, but Korda was on a front foot to win it, using third set point to clinch the set. The American followed the blow, breaking Medvedev early in second set, keeping his own service games and delivering the two sets advantage. Third set had a similar course of events, with early break from Korda, but US Open 2021 champion responded in 8th game, trying to stay alive in this tournament. It was not enough, as Korda confirmed his dominant form today, leading from the start of 3rd set tiebreak, winning it 7-4 and securing a biggest grand slam match victory in his career with quite a style.
Korda was the only winning American male today, as Mackenzie Mcdonald did not make another step on the road after upsetting Rafael Nadal in previous round, losing easily with Yoshihito Nishioka in straight sets. Frances Tiafoe did not prevail in an even duel with Karen Khachanov, losing in 4 sets. This could end up differently, as Tiafoe had 6 set points in fourth sets, but did not convert any of those, allowing the Russian to secure the place in Round of 16.
Stefanos Tsitsipas will set up an exciting R16 battle with Jannik Sinner. The Greek, as expected, had no trouble against Tallon Griekspoor in easy three sets match. The Italian started his match against Marton Fucsovics really slowly, losing first two sets. Then, he performed the comeback in impressive style, giving away just three games in the road to decider and making a bagel on Hungarian rival in 5th set.
Jiri Lehecka earned the biggest victory in his career, upsetting the top ranked Brit, Cameron Norrie in another five-setter, 6-10 6-3 3-6 6-1 6-4. It's the first 4th round Grand Slam appearance for Czech, who will face Felix Auger Aliassime in next round.