Alexei Popyrin has promised all-out attack as he looks to reel in the hottest player on tour when he meets Russian Daniil Medvedev in the Australian Open third round.
The Sydneysider was ultra-impressive in a 6-2 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 demolition of Jaume Munar on Thursday, moving into the last 32 and equalling his 2019 performance at Melbourne Park.
Popyrin has yet to be broken in six sets at the Open this year, hitting 51 winners against the Spaniard. He showed he could dig deep by fighting back from 5-1 down in the tiebreak to take the second set.
But a much-bigger fish awaits the world No.96 on Saturday.
Medvedev had the most wins of any player in 2019 (59) and a superb back-end to the season which, at one stage, included 21 victories from 22 matches.
Popyrin said Medvedev was almost unbeatable, going shot-for-shot on the baseline, so he was prepared to ramp-up his net play to force the world No.4's hand.
"I think that's my only chance of winning," Popyrin said.
"Not many people can rally with him on the baseline. He's probably the best of rallying on the baseline.
"My game is to come in. If I steer away from that, then I definitely won't win. I have to play my game against him."
The two have met once before, at Wimbledon last year, Popyrin claiming a set and being up a break in another before going down in four.
"It was a really tough match, exhausting one," Medvedev said of that encounter after his win on Thursday over Pedro Martinez.
"A really close one. I managed to win it but, already last Australian Open, we saw how he can play in grand slams in front of the home crowd."
After an excellent performance, things didn't finish quite so well for fellow Australian Alex Bolt.
Wildcard Bolt gave No.5 seed Dominic Thiem an almighty scare before bowing out in five sets in the second round.
The left-handed Bolt led by two sets to one before Thiem steadied to win 6-2 5-7 6-7 (5-7) 6-1 6-2 in a match lasting three hours and 22 minutes.
Thiem was beaten at the same stage of last year's Open by Popyrin.
The two-time French Open finalist from Austria will play American Taylor Fritz or South African Kevin Anderson on Saturday in the third round.
Earlier on Thursday, Australian trio Ajla Tomljanovic, Priscilla Hon and Arina Rodionova lost in the second round of the women's singles.
Tomljanovic went down 6-3 3-6 6-3 to two-time major winner Garbine Muguruza from Spain and Hon was outclassed 6-3 6-2 by another former world No.1, Angelique Kerber from Germany.
Rodionova lost 6-3 7-5 to Dutch No.9 seed Kiki Bertens.
Australian Associated Press