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Australian Open 2021: Daniil Medvedev vs Mackenzie McDonald preview, head-to-head & prediction

Daniil Medvedev at the 2021 Australian Open
Daniil Medvedev at the 2021 Australian Open
FEATURED COLUMNIST
Modified 14 Feb 2021
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Match details

Fixture: (4) Daniil Medvedev vs Mackenzie McDonald

Date: 15 February 2021

Tournament: Australian Open 2021

Round: Fourth round (Round of 16)

Venue: Melbourne, Australia

Category: Grand Slam

Surface: Outdoor hardcourt

Prize money: AUD $80,000,000

Live telecast: USA - ESPN / Tennis Channel | UK - Eurosport 1 | India - Sony Six

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Daniil Medvedev vs Mackenzie McDonald preview

World No. 4 Daniil Medvedev is undoubtedly the hottest player at this year's Australian Open.

The Russian is currently on a 17-match winning streak, having won the Paris Masters and Nitto ATP Finals to end 2020 and led Russia to the ATP Cup earlier this month. But what's even more impressive is that 10 of those victories have come against top 10 opponents.

Medvedev has beaten seven of the current top 10 players during this streak, with the only exceptions being Stefanos Tsitsipas, Andrey Rublev and the absent Roger Federer.

With concerns around the physical fitness of Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, the stars could be aligning for Medvedev to win his first Grand Slam title.

The Russian's fourth-round opponent on Monday will be Mackenzie McDonald, a former NCAA Division I men's tennis champion in both singles and doubles.

Mackenzie McDonald at the 2020 French Open
Mackenzie McDonald at the 2020 French Open
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McDonald is currently ranked No. 192 in the world, but was as high as No. 57 in April 2019 before a serious hamstring injury at the French Open that year stalled his rise. The injury required surgery and forced him to miss the rest of the season, and the American is now trying to climb back up the ranks.


Daniil Medvedev vs Mackenzie McDonald head-to-head

Daniil Medvedev and Mackenzie McDonald have met twice on the ATP tour, with the Russian leading their head-to-head 2-0.

Medvedev defeated McDonald on the hardcourts of Indian Wells in 2019, and also in Barcelona that same year - with both wins coming in straight sets.

The two also played in the qualifying event of the 2018 Rogers Cup, and Medvedev won that match in straight sets as well.


Daniil Medvedev vs Mackenzie McDonald prediction

Daniil Medvedev during third-round match against Filip Krajinovic at the 2021 Australian Open
Daniil Medvedev during third-round match against Filip Krajinovic at the 2021 Australian Open

After winning his first two matches in straight sets this week, Daniil Medvedev was stretched to five sets by Filip Krajnovic in the third round.

The Russian won the first two sets before losing his focus and also requiring medical attention on his left glute. However, he was able to find his rhythm once again and win the fifth set 6-0 to advance to the last 16.

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Medvedev is known to be among the most temperamental players on the ATP tour and he demonstrated that once again during his win on Saturday. The Russian was repeatedly seen screaming at his box, which led his coach to walk out of the stands in the fourth set.

This isn't the first time that Medvedev's box has borne the brunt of his frustrations. However, the World No. 4 played down the significance of the incident in his post-match press conference.

"I don't know what was going through his head, but at least what he said is that he was sure I'm going to win, and he just wanted to leave me alone to be calm," said Medvedev. "Myself, as a human, that's why we can have, let's call it, some frustrating moments, both of us, because we both want to win. He wants me to win so he felt like that (leaving) was the best thing to do. This time, yeah, for sure it was a good thing to do. But there is not a big deal, let's call it like this."

Mackenzie McDonald meanwhile needed four sets to come through each of his first two matches - against Marco Cecchinato and No. 22 seed Borna Coric. Then on Saturday, McDonald scored a straight-sets win over Lloyd Harris to book his spot in the last 16 at a Major for just the second time in his career.

Daniil Medvedev's game is ideal for hardcourts, as seen during his magical 2019 season - which included a runner-up finish at the US Open. But the Russian, through to the last 16 in Melbourne for the third year in a row, is still looking for his first quarterfinal at the Australian Open.

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Medvedev has the game and the desire to win the title this year, and he will be the big favorite to emerge triumphant on Monday.

Prediction: Daniil Medvedev to win in four sets.

Published 13 Feb 2021, 20:50 IST
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