Daniil Medvedev made a winning start to his Western & Southern Open title defence on Monday when he overcame a spirited performance from qualifier Marcos Giron 6-4, 6-4 for a place in the third round.

Medvedev, who beat David Goffin in last year’s final held traditionally in Cincinnati, played on average four metres behind the baseline to weather any attack from Giron in the 90-minute encounter. It was Medvedev’s first tour-level match since 21 February when the Russian lost to Gilles Simon in the Open 13 Provence quarter-finals.

“I served well and I am pleased to have won, particularly against an opponent who has played three matches,” Medvedev told TennisTV in a post-match interview. “I didn’t play well from the baseline, but I got two breaks. I have a lot of things to improve, but that’s for the next round. It was hotter today, the conditions were a little bit different.”

The World No. 5 will now play Taylor Fritz or qualifier Aljaz Bedene in the third round.

Medvedev broke serve on his third break point at 2-2, when Giron overhit a backhand long, and later missed out on clinching the set 6-3, when Giron saved a set point with his first ace. However, one game later, Medvedev closed out the 42-minute opener to love with Giron’s sixth groundstroke error.

Medvedev took control of the match with a 2-1 lead in the second set after striking a powerful inside-out forehand, then did well to save three break points to consolidate the service break. The 24-year-old hit 16 winners and committed just three errors on his forehand.

The ATP Masters 1000 tournament is being contested behind closed doors at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, the venue of the US Open in New York, due to the global COVID-19 pandemic that suspended the ATP Tour for five months.

Medvedev reached six straight tour-level finals in 2019, including victories at two Masters 1000 tournaments in Cincinnati and at the Rolex Shanghai Masters, and went 29-3 post Wimbledon. He has been in the Top 5 of the FedEx ATP Rankings every week since 19 August 2019.

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