Daniil Medvedev pulls through ‘tricky’ Cincinnati opener | ATP Tour

Daniel Medvedev rued towards the unsown Nick Kyrgios so early in Montreal after losing his opening game last week. The world No. 1 had to face another tough test Botic van de Zandschulp on Tuesday night as he began his Western & Southern Open campaign.

Playing against the only man to take a serve from him in his 2021 US Open Title run, Medvedev made a quick start after an immediate break but had to survive an odd second set to secure a 6-4, 7-5 win and advance to the third round in Cincinnati.

“The second set wasn’t that clean,” said Medvedev, who gave up a break advantage and saved a set point on serve in the set. “The first set was great. Everything worked. I had three games where I had break points but managed to break in the first game which was enough.”

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Solid if unspectacular, Medvedev built up a one set and break lead but immediately gave up his advantage when van de Zandschulp equalized to 3-3 in the second. After the Dutchman saved three break points to keep the 5-4, it was Medvedev’s turn to save a break point that doubled as a set point. The top seed survived thanks to a mistake by his opponent and then broke for the third time in the match when van de Zandschulp double faulted three times on serve in 5-all.

“The second set didn’t go so badly,” said Medvedev. “He didn’t serve very well today and made a lot of double faults. So I tried to keep the pressure up and take my chances. Actually coming back I feel like I did a good job. Two breaks on those fast pitches enough to win.” and I should have done a little better on my serve. But the first game is difficult and I’m glad I made it and hopefully I’ll raise my level in the next few games.”

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Van de Zandschulp plagued problems all night as he finished with 11 double faults, including two at the break points. But he made one final attack on the return, creating his third break point of the game when Medvedev served.

“It happens to me in some tournaments,” Medvedev said of his opponent’s serve problems. “You don’t know why, you just can’t get a second serve in and in fact I did a few here today too.

Medvedev, who served four double faults himself with a 58 first serve percentage, did just enough damage on his last service game to end the match with his third match point. When the 2019 Cincinnati champion hit his first serve, he dominated with an 87 percent win rate.

Next he meets the quarterfinalists from Montreal Thomas Paul or Denis Shapovalov, with a possible rematch with Kyrgios looming in the quarterfinals. Another win secures Medvedev’s place at the top of the Pepperstone ATP rankings US Open title defense.

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