Medvedev says he’s not French Open favourite after loss in Geneva

Published May 19, 2022
RUSSIA’S Daniil Medvedev goes for a return to Richard Gasquet of France during their Geneva Open match at Tennis Club de Geneve.—Reuters
RUSSIA’S Daniil Medvedev goes for a return to Richard Gasquet of France during their Geneva Open match at Tennis Club de Geneve.—Reuters

GENEVA: World number two Daniil Medvedev on Tuesday ruled himself out as a title contender at next week’s French Open after losing his first match back after a hernia operation.

The US Open champion, who underwent surgery last month, was beaten 6-2, 7-6 (7-5) by French veteran Richard Gasquet in the Geneva Open round of 16.

The Russian said it was hard to look beyond Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic as favourites to win the second Grand Slam of the year and said he would work further on sharpening up his game in the remaining days before Paris.

“I don’t play my best tennis on clay courts. I know that I’m capable of making some good results, as I did in the past. But for this I kind of need to be in the zone,” Medvedev told reporters.

“I don’t feel as confident on clay as on other surfaces, that’s why I lost 7-5 in the tie-break finishing with a double fault. It’s disappointing but I’ve had tougher losses in my career.

“Physically I felt not bad. With more days of practice I should be ready for Roland Garros.”

The 26-year-old reached the 2021 French Open quarter-finals.

“I haven’t played for a month and a half, two months. I’m going to try to work both physically and tennis-wise and hopefully I can find the game I had there last year — which is not going to be easy,” he said.

Medvedev went under the knife after losing in the quarter-finals in Miami, meaning the Geneva loss was his only clay-court match ahead of Paris.

“Clay for my body is the most dangerous surface. For me it’s clay courts -- every time, every year I have some problems where I cannot be 100 percent,” he said.

“I’m not a favourite for Roland Garros but I do want to play well. If I can find my level again, I can be dangerous.”

It was the first time 35-year-old Gasquet had defeated a top-two player since beating Roger Federer in 2005 — his only other victory over a top-two opponent in 38 attempts.Gasquet, the world number 75, in the quarter-final faces Poland’s Kamil Majchrzak who outplayed Marco Cecchinato of Italy 6-2, 6-3 in the round-of-16 match.

Last year’s Geneva winner Casper Ruud, runner-up Denis Shapovalov and Reilly Opelka are the top 20 players still in the draw.

In the first-round matches held on Tuesday, Spain’s Joao Sousa beat compatriot Pablo Andujar 6-1, 6-4; Thanasi Kokkinakis of Australia outclassed Italy’s Fabio Fognini 6-4, 6-3; Switzerland’s Johan Nikles overcame compatriot Leandro Riedi 5-7, 7-6 (7-3), 7-5; fifth seed Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia was declared winner against Argentina’s Facundo Bagnis when the latter retired in the first set which he trailed 6-4 and Australia’s Christopher O’Connell defeated Albert Ramos-Vinolas of Spain 7-6 (7-5), 6-4.

Published in Dawn, May 19th, 2022

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