Medvedev hits milestone

LOS CABOS, Mexico (AFP) — World No. 1 Daniil Medvedev, playing his first match in six weeks, beat Australian qualifier Rinky Hijikata 6-4, 6-3 on Wednesday at the ATP hard court tournament in Los Cabos, Mexico.

It was a milestone 250th match win of the reigning US Open champion’s career.

“Someone told me this a few days ago,” Medvedev said after the match.

“Otherwise I would not have known. That’s nice, a milestone in a way.”

“I want more victories, but that’s nice to have 250. We’ll try to get more.”

Medvedev is playing his first tournament since bowing out of the quarterfinals at Mallorca on 23 June.

He missed Wimbledon because of its ban of Russian and Belarussian players in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Medvedev gained the first break of the match to claim the opening set.

He saved the first break point he faced in the opening game of the second, and gained the break he needed for a 4-2 lead against Hijikata.

The 21-year-old Australian world No. 224 put up a fight, fending off a stream of break points before Medvedev closed it out after 90 minutes.

“It’s definitely not that easy to play after you stop for a while, especially (playing my) first match on hard courts since a long, long time — since Miami,” Medvedev said.

“Sensations were not bad. I could have just broke a little bit more, but when you win everything is fine.”

Medvedev next faces Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania, who beat Argentina’s Facundo Bagnis 7-6 (7/4), 6-3.

Second-seeded Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime also advanced, beating Mexico’s Alex Hernandez 6-3, 7-5.

Meanwhile, Australia’s Daria Saville upset top-seeded defending champion Jessica Pegula 7-5, 6-4 on Wednesday at the ATP and WTA Washington Open, where Hubert Hurkacz and Simona Halep also exited.

World No. 88 Saville ripped the seventh-ranked American in hot and humid conditions while Romanian third seed Halep retired down 7-5, 2-0 to Anna Kalinskaya with illness.

“I stayed really composed,” Saville said.

“I managed the energy really well. It was very hot. But I thought it’s hot for everyone so get on with it.”

Polish second seed Hurkacz crashed out in his second-round match at the US Open hardcourt tuneup, falling to Finland’s Emil Ruusuvuori 6-4, 7-6 (7/3).

Saville booked a quarterfinal match against Canadian qualifier Rebecca Marino, who beat Germany’s Andrea Petkovic 6-3, 3-6, 6-1.

The 28-year-old Russian-born Aussie won her only WTA title at the 2017 Connecticut Open but dispatched Pegula in 98 minutes for her second top-10 win of the year after downing Ons Jabeur at Indian Wells in March.

“Everyone’s attitude is I’m here to win the tournament and I’m no different,” Saville said.

“I’m playing really good tennis right now. I’m excited for more.”

Saville fell to 627th in the world rankings after Achilles tendon surgery that sidelined her for most of last year. Now she’s into her third quarter-final of the year after Miami and Guadalajara.
“I’m happy,” Saville said.

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