Defending Champ Medvedev Outlasts Karatsev In Mallorca
Daniil Medvedev improved to 8-2 on the grass this ATP Tour season Wednesday with a strong start to his campaign at the Mallorca Championships. The World No. 1 came from a set down to defeat Aslan Karatsev 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 as he seeks a third final in as many weeks on the lawns.
The defending Mallorca titlist converted on the lone break point of the second set for either man to move ahead late in the neck-and-neck set, then dominated the decider as Karatsev struggled with an apparent leg problem.
"It was tough to play [in] rhythm," Medvedev said of the windy conditions. "It felt like many points were just whoever managed to put the ball in the court was going to win the point. It was not easy but I'm happy to win because that's the most important [thing]."
After dropping serve midway through the opening set on the match's first break point, Medvedev threatened an instant break back but could not convert on four opportunities. Instead, his comeback bid had to wait for set two. Karatsev kept the pressure on by getting to 30/30 or deuce in three straight return games midway through the second, but Medvedev's strong serving kept him in front until his crucial break in the eighth game.
Medvedev made just 48 per cent of his firsts serves in the opening set, but improved to 68 per cent and 69 per cent in the final two sets as he took control of the match.
The 26-year-old dropped just one set in his 2021 Mallorca title run and could win his first title of the 2022 season with a successful repeat bid.
"Last year was amazing. I played great tennis," he said. "Hopefully I can do the same this year. I like it here in Mallorca, so hopefully I can stay as long as possible in the tournament."
Medvedev next faces fifth seed Roberto Bautista Agut, who advanced when Nick Kyrgios withdrew due to injury. Medvedev earned his first victory against the Spaniard in their fourth ATP Head2Head meeting last week in Halle.
"He's a great player... Really tough to beat him all the time," Medvedev previewed. "[He's a] top player and hopefully we can have a good match."