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Medvedev opens 2022 with loss to Humbert but returns for doubles to give Russia ATP Cup victory over France
35th ranked Humbert came from a set and a break down to beat Medvedev for the biggest win of his career
Having won his first Grand Slam title at the US Open in September and ending his season with the Davis Cup title, world No 2 Daniil Medvedev has established himself as one the best hardcourt players on the tour and a firm favourite for the Australian Open later this month.
However, the Russian’s 2022 got off to a rocky start as he was beaten in his opening match of the season by France’s Ugo Humbert in a three-set battle on Day 2 of the ATP Cup in Sydney.
Medvedev ended his season by going 5-0 to help Russian Tennis Federation win the Davis Cup title just four weeks ago. At the same time, Humbert, who loves competing under the French flag and reached the quarter-finals at the Tokyo Olympics, decided to end his season early. The 23-year-old missed the Rolex Masters and Davis Cup and was playing his first match on the tour since losing his fifth match in a row at the ATP Challenger event in Orleans, France in late September.
Medvedev goes up a set and a break in the second
The first set was a close affair, with Medvedev and Humbert exchanging early breaks but keeping it close throughout with baseline exchanges. Humbert built a 4-1 lead in the tiebreaker but the Russian showed his resilient qualities as he bounced back to win the breaker 7-5.
Medevdev moved up an early break in the second set, going up 3-0 and seemed well on his way to seal a 2-0 win for Russia after countryman Roman Safiullin had won the opening tie.
Humbert fights back to win the second set and third set over Medvedev
However, the 35th ranked Humbert was not ready to throw in the towel just yet. The left-hander broke back to level the set at 3-3 and then broke his Russian opponent in a marathon 11th game and closed out the second set 7-5.
In the third set, it was Medvedev who once again took the lead. The Russian broke Humber in the fourth game to build a 3-1 lead. Just as he had in the second set, Humbert broke back to level the set at 3-3.
Both players held their next three service games each to send the match into a deciding tie-breaker. Once there, it was Humbert who played the steadier tennis. An early unforced error and a double fault from Medvedev have Humbert a 4-0 lead and the Frenchman held on to close out the tiebreaker 7-2. In the end, the 6-7, 7-5, 7-6 win lasted for two hours and 55 minutes.
Little known Safiullin upsets Rinderknech to give Russians early lead
In the first match of the tie, little known Roman Safiullin gave the Russians a 1-0 lead with an upset win over France’s Arthur Rinderknech 2-6, 7-5, 6-3. Ranked No 167 in the world, Safiullin came into the singles match after Andrey Rublev and Aslan Karatsev pulled out and made the most of the opportunity presented to him against an opponent ranked more than 100 places above him (Rinderknech is 58th in the world currently).
Safiullin said after the win, “It feels great to win the first match, to get the point for the team and now we wait for Daniil to go out and show his tennis. The second set was really tight and I tried to make as many balls as I could and put pressure on him.”
Medvedev comes back to win doubles and tie for Russia
Shortly after his singles loss, Medvedev was back on the court for the deciding doubles encounter with Safiullin. The duo scored a 6-4, 6-4 win over the French team of Edouard Roger-Vasselin and Fabrice Martin in one hour and 15 minutes to clinch a 2-1 win for the Russians.
The back-to-back matches meant that Medvedev spend more than four hours and 14 minutes on the court on Sunday and will get a well-deserved one day break before coming back out against the Australians.
Russia 2 – 1 France
- Safiullin (RUS) d. Rinderknech (FRA) : 2-6, 7-5, 6-3
- Humbert (RUS) d. Medvedev (FRA) : 6-7, 7-5, 7-6
- Medvedev / Safiullin (RUS) d. Martin / Roger-Vasselin (FRA) : 6-4, 6-4
Italy 1 – 2 Australia
• Sinner (ITA) d. Purcell (AUS) : 6-1, 6-3
• De Minaur (AUS) d. Berrettini (ITA) : 6-3, 7-6 (4)
• Peers/Saville (AUS) d. Bolelli/Berrettini (ITA) : 6-3, 7-5
Canada 0 – 3 USA
- Isner (USA) d. Schnur (CAN) : 6-1, 6-3
- Fritz (USA) d. Auger-Aliassime (CAN) : 6-7, 6-4, 6-4
- Fritz / Isner (USA) d. Auger-Aliassime / Shapovalov (CAN) : 6-4, 6-4
Germany 1 – 2 Great Britain 1-2
• Evans (GBR) d. Struff (GER) : 6-1, 6-2
• Zverev (GER) d. Norrie (GBR) : 7-6 (2), 6-1
• Murray/Evans (GBR) d. Krawietz/Zverev (GER) : 6-3, 6-4