Daniil Medvedev prevailed 6-1, 6-4, 7-6 (7/3) in 1hr 54min on Rod Laver Arena.© AFP
Title favourite Daniil Medvedev wore down Swiss Henri Laaksonen to win his opening match at the Australian Open on Tuesday with little fuss. The Russian, who is looking for back-to-back Grand Slam crowns after winning last year’s US Open, prevailed 6-1, 6-4, 7-6 (7/3) in 1hr 54min on Rod Laver Arena. “I tried to win the third set, I thought I’ll wait (for the tiebreaker), it managed to work out, so I’m really happy about it,” the world number two said on court. “I started well in Australia last year, won the ATP Cup and managed to be in the final here. I like to play here, I like hardcourts and I want to do better than I did last year.”
Medvedev is aiming to go one better than last year’s losing final appearance against Novak Djokovic, but with the world number one back home in Serbia after his deportation, the Russian is the nominated favourite for the title.
Medvedev dropped his opening service game against Laaksonen, but reeled off the next six games to take the first set.
When the 91st-ranked Laaksonen finally held service in the opening game of the second set the crowd loudly cheered.
The Swiss was more competitive in the second set, but the second seed was still controlling things with his methodical groundstrokes.
Laaksonen raised his level and came out on top of several long rallies, but Medvedev’s experience proved the difference in the third-set tiebreaker.
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