Medvedev doffs his hat to Dubai after smooth win over Shevchenko

The 2021 US Open champion, who has played six Grand Slam finals, recorded a straight sets win over Alexander Shevchenko

By Team KT

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram

Top Stories

Daniil Medvedev hits a backhand return during his match against Alexander Shevchenko in dubai on Tuesday. — Photos by Muhammad Sajjad
Daniil Medvedev hits a backhand return during his match against Alexander Shevchenko in dubai on Tuesday. — Photos by Muhammad Sajjad

Published: Tue 27 Feb 2024, 10:12 PM

Showing no ill effects from a devastating five-set loss to Jannik Sinner at the Australian Open final last month, Daniil Medvedev produced fine tennis on his return to competitive tennis.

The 2021 US Open champion, who has played six Grand Slam finals, recorded a straight sets win over Alexander Shevchenko at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Tuesday.

The world number four got his title defence at the hardcourt ATP 500 event up and running, overcoming Shevchenko 6-3, 7-5.

Medvedev admitted that he could not have hoped for a better place to play tennis after the Australian Open final set back.

"I feel welcomed many places in the world, but Dubai is a nice city," said Medvedev who received big support from the centre court crowd on Tuesday.

"I feel like I'm really easygoing, I can come to small village or big city like Dubai, New York, enjoy both. I like it here in Dubai. Honestly, I think I'm going to come back many times."

The Russian shrugged off his month-long absence, breaking his Kazakh opponent in three consecutive return games in the first set before reeling off four games in a row from 3-5 in the second set to complete an 88-minute triumph.

"In general, I'm pretty happy. But, there were definitely some moments where I could have played better. Again, I beat a very tough opponent in two sets, so looking forward to next matches and seeing how I develop," the Russian said.

He will meet either Lorenzo Sonego or wild card Sumit Nagal in the next round.

In January, Medvedev reached his second Australian Open final. He lost to Rafael Nadal in the Melbourne decider two years ago, and this time had to settle for second best in the season's opening Grand Slam to Sinner.

He was forced to skip his title defence in Doha last week because he was dealing with a number of physical issues –- with his foot, adductor, and shoulder -– but said on the eve of Tuesday's return he was ready to get back on court after spending the last seven days training in Dubai.

The 28-year-old has added French former world number six Gilles Simon to his team, to collaborate with his long-time coach Gilles Cervara.

Meanwhile, Frenchman Ugo Humbert avenged the defeat compatriot Gael Monfils inflicted on him at the Qatar Open last week with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory against the veteran wildcard.

In Doha, former World No6 Monfils breezed past Humbert in the quarterfinal last week on route to writing himself into the tournament’s record books as the oldest finalist in its history at 37 years and five months. In Dubai though, Humbert ensured there would be no repeat.

Monfils had looked on course to continue his impressive renaissance after a solid showing in the opening set, but a stomach complaint in the early stages of the second – which saw him ask the umpire to temporarily leave the court – played a significant part in his subsequent downfall. Recovering from the first set loss, Humbert battled back to set up an exciting Centre Court clash against three-time Grand Slam winner Andy Murray.

Two-time Grand Slam semifinalist Monfils was in clear discomfort on several occasions, but fought through the pain to put up a solid fight against strong opposition in the shape of World No18 Humbert. In truth, the latter only began to start playing his best tennis in the second set, where in the sixth game he was finally able to break Monfils’ powerful serve and level the match.

An inspired Humbert carried on the momentum in the third and final set, breaking Monfils once more. And while the veteran had two chances to break the new French No1; he didn’t take advantage of them with Humbert closing out the third set in similarly clinical fashion to the second.

On Court One another Frenchman was celebrating victory, as qualifier Arthur Cazaux marked his first appearance in the Main Draw of an ATP 500 tournament with an impressive straight sets victory over World No26 Lorenzo Musetti.

Cazaux, who did not drop a set in qualifying, continued in a similar vein edging out his Italian opponent thanks to a close-fought 6-4, 7-6 victory. Standing in the way of Cazaux and a fairytale quarterfinal appearance is World No5 Andrey Rublev, who tasted success at this tournament two years ago.

Meanwhile, there was to be no shock in the second match of the day on Centre Court as Karen Khachanov overcame a spirited performance from Lucky Loser Luca Van Assche in a 6-2, 6-3 victory. The match looked to be heading towards a second set with Dubai-resident Khachanov trailing 3-1, before an impressive turnaround from No4 seed.

On how he turned the second set in his fortune, the World No15 said: “First game in the second set, I served one double fault, let's say not as many first serves as I was serving before. He managed to take the lead. He returned a couple of times pretty strong, pretty hard through.

“He played more aggressive. He really went for the shots. It can happen. He played well; I didn't play as well from the beginning, but I'm happy. Look, I stayed calm; I stayed in the match, then managed to break him back twice and win from 3-1, 6-3. This is what counts at the end.”

Khachanov, who won the Qatar Open last week, will face Czech Jiri Lehecka – who overcame a stern challenge from Hungarian qualifier Marton Fucsovics – in the Round of 16.


More news from Sports