© Henk Koster

Daniil Medvedev defeats Jeremy Chardy in straight sets at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament on Wednesday.

Medvedev Maintains Momentum In Rotterdam

Former champion Tsonga through in straight sets

In-form Daniil Medvedev, the winner of his fourth ATP Tour title at last week’s Sofia Open, extended his fine run of form on Wednesday at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament by beating Jeremy Chardy of France 7-6(2), 6-2 in one hour and 34 minutes. The fifth-seeded Russian, who turned 23 on 11 February, will next play Fernando Verdasco of Spain in the second round.

“It was a tough match with Jeremy serving for the first set at 5-4,” said Medvedev. “I went a little bit crazy, having been up, but I managed to fight back and win. I got furious, as I’d been 4-1 up, but that emotion helped me to re-focus.”

Looking ahead to his next match, Medvedev said, “Fernando always plays good tennis as a lefty. I lost the last time [in ‘s-Hertogenbosch], but I beat him in 2017 [in Montpellier]. I will have to be ready to play my best.”

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Medvedev, who is now 12-2 on the season that includes a runner-up finish at the Brisbane International (l. to Nishikori), lost six points in the first five games, to take a 4-1 lead, before he was caught in a backlash. Chardy bounced back to 5-4, but was broken to 15 when serving for the set. Smart defence earned Medvedev the tie-break, wrapping up the 58-minute opener when Chardy struck a backhand lob long. It was one-way traffic in the second set with Medvedev taking a 4-0 advantage against Chardy, who had celebrated his 32nd birthday on Tuesday.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga made a winning return to Rotterdam, beating Thomas Fabbiano of Italy 6-1, 6-4. The 33-year-old Frenchman, making his first appearance at the tournament since lifting the trophy in 2017 (d. Goffin), fired 25 winners, including 12 aces, en route to victory after 66 minutes.

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Last week, Tsonga lifted his first tour-level title in more than 15 months at the Open Sud de France (d. Herbert) to rise 70 positions in the ATP Rankings to No. 140. The 17-time tour-level champion, who missed seven months of the 2018 ATP Tour season following left knee surgery, will meet Dutch qualifier Tallon Griekspoor for a place in the quarter-finals.

Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics, the player Medvedev beat in the Sofia final on Sunday, proved to be too strong for 2016 champion Martin Klizan of Slovakia 7-6(4), 6-4 in one hour and 39 minutes and will next challenge ninth-seeded Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili in the second round on Thursday.

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