Australian Open: Medvedev overcomes nosebleed, underarm serve; Thiem scrapes through

Daniil Medvedev suffered a nosebleed during his win over Pedro Martinez, while Dominic Thiem battled his way into the third round of the Australian Open.

Daniil Medvedev celebrates after his second round win over Pedro Martinez at the Australian Open on Thursday.   -  Getty Images

Daniil Medvedev insisted a mid-match nosebleed was not a serious problem as he overcame an underarm serve and stiff resistance from Spanish qualifier Pedro Martinez Thursday to book his Australian Open third-round ticket.

The Russian fourth seed was pressed hard in a competitive first set before grinding down the 22-year-old 7-5, 6-1, 6-3 with the roof closed on Margaret Court Arena. He plays Australia’s Alexei Popyrin next in Melbourne.

“It was not easy, especially the first set, but I managed to stay there the whole match and came through because he has less experience,” said Medvedev, who won four titles last year and was runner-up at the US Open.

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He was up 5-0 in the second set when he required a medical timeout with blood dripping from his nose, something that also interrupted his Australian Open last year.

“Well, I was bleeding from the nose, which can happen to me sometimes. Doesn’t usually happen during the match so I had to stop it,” said the 23-year-old.

“Usually takes like four minutes, three, four minutes. I called the physio so he could help me to stop it. But it’s nothing.” While nosebleeds are a recurring issue, he said they did not happen often enough to be a major problem.

“Let’s say it happens maybe two times a year or maybe once. I remember it actually happened at last year’s Australian Open in the first round.”

Asked if it was related to tension, he replied: “No, not at all. If it would be, I would be bleeding every match I play.” The highest seed behind the Big Three of Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, Medvedev struggled to get going against a tenacious player making his Australian Open debut.

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But his strength and big serve ultimately counted, with 19 aces. So frustrated was the Spaniard that he resorted to an underarm serve.

“I don’t know actually why he did it, but it surprised me a lot,” said Medvedev. “But if he would make a good one, I think I would be in trouble. But it was really a bad one, so I had the ball easy.”

The pair stayed on serve until the Russian’s pressure paid dividends in the first set, working break points in game four and getting the edge when Martinez, ranked 168, sent a backhand into the net. But poor technique on a volley handed the Spaniard a break back for 3-4 and Martinez’s confidence grew.

They went game for game until Medvedev stepped up a gear to break again for the set when Martinez put a simple forehand into the net. With the Spaniard sapped of energy, Medvedev twisted the knife, racing into a 5-0 second-set lead before his nosebleed.

Medvedev is aiming to better his best performance at Melbourne Park, which came last year when he made the round of 16 before falling to eventual champion Djokovic.

- Thiem scrapes through after five-set scare -

World number five Dominic Thiem survived a five-set scare after being pushed hard by gutsy home hope Alex Bolt at the Australian Open on Thursday.

The Austrian, targeting a maiden Grand Slam crown, looked fragile as the crowd got behind the wildcard but ultimately prevailed 6-2, 5-7, 6-7 (5/7), 6-1, 6-2 in 3hrs 22mins.

“It was a tough match, Alex played great and he had the crowd support,” said Thiem, who has never gone past the fourth round in six previous attempts. “But I also love to play in such a great atmosphere.” He faces another tricky clash in the third round, against either American 29th seed Taylor Fritz or big-serving South African Kevin Anderson.

Thiem looked comfortable after racing through the opening set and was serving at 5-4 to go two sets in front. But the crowd was roaring for Bolt and he remarkably broke, with the tide turning as he rallied to clinch the set 7-5.

The third set was a tight affair with neither player giving an inch. Thiem had an opportunity at 4-4 with two break points but he failed to convert. The Austrian’s best efforts were being met with resistance, with Bolt saving another three break points on his next service game, leaving Thiem frustrated at his missed opportunities.

It went to a tiebreaker and Bolt raced into a 6-2 lead, but wobbled as Thiem won three points in a row before the Australian sent down a booming ace to got two sets to one in front. However, Thiem recovered his composure and after a series of long baseline rallies broke twice to take the match into a deciding set.

The Austrian’s focus and fitness proved decisive in the fifth, with a Bolt forehand into the net giving him a break and he raced to victory as his opponent flagged.

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