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Medvedev can catch up on sleep after a contrasting 3rd-round win at the Australian Open

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Back in the day, Daniil Medvedev would go out for a late night and get up just hoping everything would be OK when he picked up the racket.

Turns out, that was good practice for an Australian Open campaign where he was still playing his second-round match until almost 4 a.m. on Friday and had to prepare for a big third-round match against Felix Auger-Aliassime on Saturday.

“When I was very young, maybe till 21, I was going out,” he said, recounting his youth after beating Auger-Aliassime in straight sets. "And, it was not good for my tennis.

“I was not playing as I’m playing now, but maybe some practices without sleep, sometimes, helped me play today.”

Now 27, married and with a daughter, he has sharpened his focus to ensure he's fully prepared mentally and physically when he goes on court in the majors.

He lost the first two sets of his second-round Australian Open match against No. 53-ranked Emil Ruusuvuori before coming back to win 3-6, 6-7 (1), 6-4, 7-6 (1), 6-0 in 4 hours, 23 minutes.

So after physio and an ice bath in the wake of his second-round win, he went to bed at 7 a.m. and slept until noon. Then a light practice, a snooze, dinner and then bed. Then back to game day.

Medvedev beat 27th-seeded Auger-Aliassime 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 in little more than two hours, finishing about 2 1/2 hours before midnight local time Saturday.

"What time is it, 9:30? Easy, yeah,” he said in his on-court interview. “I’m going to be ready in two days.”

He'll have plenty of time to catch up on sleep before playing Monday against Nuno Borges, who upset No. 13 Grigor Dimitrov 6-7 (3), 6-4, 6-2, 7-6 (6).

“At least I have this super ability — I can sleep where I want whenever I want," Medvedev said in his on-court interview.

The previous time he played Auger-Aliassime in Australia, he had to save two match points before clinching an exhausting quarterfinal in five sets. He lost the final that year to Rafael Nadal, a year after losing the 2021 decider to Novak Djokovic.

With nine of the top 10 still in contention here after three rounds, he'll have to be tactically astute to make it back to the final. He says he's back on track to add another major trophy to the one he captured at the U.S. Open in 2021.

“I’m focusing on right now. I want to ... try to go again to the final, try to have my chance of winning another Grand Slam,” he said. “I had another final finally in U.S. Open. Just want to show good tennis, beat good guys, and hopefully get one more title.”

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AP tennis: https://apnews.com/hub/tennis