Medvedev Cruises Through Opener In New York

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Reigning champion Daniil Medvedev started his US Open title defence with victory Monday, cruising past American Stefan Kozlov 6-2, 6-4, 6-0 to reach the second round in New York.

The top seed, who defeated Novak Djokovic to lift his maiden major title in Flushing Meadows last year, quickly found his range on the hard courts. He struck his flat groundstrokes with consistency as he overpowered Kozlov to advance after two hours and one minute in their first ATP Head2Head meeting.

The 26-year-old now holds a standout 21-4 record at the final Grand Slam of the year. The 14-time tour-level champion next plays Quentin Halys or Arthur Rinderknech as he looks to continue his quest to become the first player to win consecutive US Open titles since Roger Federer lifted the trophy for five consecutive years from 2004-08.

“I am pleased to win. Not easy conditions. Pretty hot and humid here,” Medvedev said in his on-court interview. “I was sweating a lot but I thought there were some good points. I managed to be pretty solid and I thought the serve was key today. I am happy to go through to the second round.”


With his No. 1 spot in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings on the line, Medvedev will need a deep run in New York. He is one of five players – Rafael Nadal, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Carlos Alcaraz and Casper Ruud – who have the opportunity to finish the US Open as the World No. 1. All but Nadal must reach the championship match to have a chance of leaving New York as World No. 1. More On Key Matches In Battle For No. 1.

Medvedev, who arrived in New York off the back of a semi-final run in Cincinnati, looked in control in the opening match of the tournament on Arthur Ashe Stadium. The 26-year-old struck 37 winners and committed 19 unforced errors as he moved through the gears to outmanoeuvre the American, who was making his main draw debut on home soil.

Medvedev is seeking his second major title and second tour-level title of the year this fortnight, having triumphed in Los Cabos earlier this month.


In other action, Matteo Berrettini bounced back from a disappointing first-round exit in Cincinnati by overcoming Chilean qualifier Nicolas Jarry 6-2, 6-3, 6-3.

The Italian, who soared to the semi-finals in New York in 2019, fired 26 winners and did not face a break point to triumph after one hour and 58 minutes. The 13th seed has now improved to 1-1 in his ATP Head2Head series against Jarry and will next play Argentine Tomas Martin Etcheverry or French lucky loser Hugo Grenier.

Norway’s Ruud also advanced, defeating Briton Kyle Edmund 6-3, 7-5, 6-2 in two hours and 22 minutes.

The fifth seed, who is in contention to leave New York as the World No. 1 for the first time, looked comfortable against Edmund, hitting with great depth to force the 27-year-old into errors in their first meeting.

Nine-time tour-level titlist Ruud will face Tim van Rijthoven in the second round after the Dutchman saved seven match points to edge Chinese qualifier Zhang Zhizhen 3-6, 6-7(4), 7-6(9), 6-1, 6-4.

Zhang’s defeat left Wu Yibing alone in the draw trying to become the first Chinese man to win a singles main-draw match at a Grand Slam in the Open Era, and the 22-year-old achieved the feat in spectacular style by taking out 31st seed Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-3, 6-4, 6-0.

“It’s happy and exciting but still more matches to come,” said Wu, who was the boys’ singles champion at Flushing Meadows in 2017. “The third set, I don’t know if he was hurting or something, I just tried to make all the balls and tried to stay in the game, not thinking about winning or losing. That’s why I guess I didn’t show much emotions. I feel pretty calm.”

Wu’s reward for his quickfire one-hour, 33-minute win is a second-round clash with home wild card Ben Shelton or Portuguese qualifier Nuno Borges.


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Author: Sara Brooks