Medvedev makes strong Shanghai Masters start

Defending champion beats Chile’s Garin 6-3, 6-3 to breeze into third round

AFP October 07, 2023
INACTIVITY: Medvedev won the 2019 title, but for the next three years the tournament was cancelled because of the Covid-19 pandemic. PHOTO: AFP


Defending champion Daniil Medvedev made a strong start to the Shanghai Masters on Saturday, with his main rival, top seed Carlos Alcaraz, due to launch his campaign later.

The world number three beat Chile's Cristian Garin in straight sets 6-3, 6-3 to proceed breezily to the third round.

Garin put up a valiant fight, with several hard-fought rallies inducing gasps from the crowd, but ultimately the 98th-ranked player struggled with the Russian's relentless pace.

"(There's a) long tournament ahead, with a lot of strong players, starting from my next match," said Medvedev at the end.

"But the goal for sure is to try and win this beautiful trophy one more time."

Medvedev won the 2019 title, but for the next three years the tournament was cancelled because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

"I'm definitely happy to be back in Shanghai," he said. "I honestly feel great and I want to stay here as long as possible."

Medvedev is popular with Chinese fans, a chemistry on display when the indoor match was interrupted briefly when a red-and-white butterfly distracted the Russian from serving.

The crowd giggled as he played up his surprise for comic effect, before carefully handing over the insect, which had settled on one of his tennis balls, to great applause.

Fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas is also through to the next round after a straightforward job dispatching Australian qualifier Rinky Hijikata 6-4, 6-2.

"In the beginning of a tournament, it takes some time to get the pace and rhythm of how things flow," Tsitsipas said.

"I was very confident and very sure of what I was doing and what I was following and it worked out pretty well."

World number two Alcaraz was also in action later, playing France's Gregoire Barrere.

Alcaraz is looking to close the gap on the absent Novak Djokovic at the top of the rankings with strong performances in China.

But he was disappointed in Beijing by Italy's Jannik Sinner, who defeated him in the semi-final before going on to beat Medvedev and take the China Open title.


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