Daniil Medevedv’s preparations for the defence of his only major title at the forthcoming US Open, the last of the season’s four ’big ones’, has been an up-and-down affair since the start of the American hardcourt swing – a title at Los Cabos without dropping a set and, following and opening round bye, a second round, three-set loss to Nick Kyrgios in Montreal.
Two breaks on these fast courts is enough to win and I should have done a little bit better on my serve. But the first match is tricky and I’m happy that I managed to go though, and hopefully I will raise my level in the next matches Daniil Medvedev
In Cincinnati the world number one managed got himself back on track with a 6-4 7-5 win over Dutchman Botic van de Zandschulp in the second round of the Western and Southern Open, his opening match at the Masters level event.
The Muscovite produced a confident performance to earn his place in round three, with one early break of serve for the first set, but was challenged in the second where he faced a set point but thanks to some double-faults from his Dutch opponent, he closed out the match in straight sets.
“The second set was going not that bad,” Medvedev said in an on-court interview. “He was not serving especially well today, doing a lot of double faults. So I tried to keep pressure, use my chances.
“Two breaks on these fast courts is enough to win and I should have done a little bit better on my serve. But the first match is tricky and I’m happy that I managed to go though, and hopefully I will raise my level in the next matches.”
Medvedev will face either American Tommy Paul or Canada’s Denis Shapovalov in the next round.
Meanwhile Kyrgios, the player who outlasted him in Montreal last week, had to take control of his frustrations before progressing past Spain’s Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 7-5 6-4 and a meeting with America’s Taylor Fritz, the 11th seed to place himself within one win of a mouth-watering re-match with Medvedev in the quarterfinals.
The temperamental Aussie looked in complete control after pocketing the first set with some exceptional serving and then gaining an early break in the second only for the Spaniard to level in the fourth game much to Kyrgios’ frustration.
To release said frustration, he struck a ball out of the court, very reminiscent of the incident in his victory over Stefanos Tsitsipas where it was the Greek who launched a ball out of the court, which immediately had Kyrgios asking him to be defaulted!
On this occasion Kyrgios quickly swallowed his irritation, holding to love in the next game and sealing the victory with another massive serve to set up a meeting with Fritz in the last warm-up event before the US Open, which begins on Aug. 29 in New York.
“Fritzy is a good mate of mine,” Kyrgios said.
“He’s just a good all-around player, he’s got a huge serve. He likes to play on the front foot, similar to myself. It’s going to be a lot of big serving, so we’ll see how it goes.”
Fritz’s powerful serving and aggressive returns resulted in a very comfortable 6-1 6-1 victory over Argentina’s Sebastian Baez earlier in the day.
In the only other second round action, the former US Open champion from Croatia, Marin Cilic, seeded 14 battled past Finland’s Emil Ruusuvuori 6-4 6-7(5) 7-5 and the third seed from Spain, Carlos Alcaraz took out Mackenzie McDonald of the US, 6-3 6-2.
A number of first round matches were also completed including Italy’s Jannik Sinner, seeded 10th, who got the better of Aussie Thanasi Kokkinakis 6-7(9) 6-4 7-6(6) while American Paul beat compatriot Jenson Brooksby 6-3 6-2, Australia’s Alex de Minaur dispatched Swiss Henri Laaksonen 6-2 6-2, Croatian Borna Coric defeated Lorenzo Musetti 7-6(2) 6-3 and Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas beat Italy’s Fabio Fognini 6-2 6-3.
Dan Evans was also amongst the list of fallen players, defeated 6-3 6-4 by Serbia’s Filip Krajinovic.