Defending Champ Medvedev Uses 22 Aces To Rally In St. Petersburg

Top seed comes from a set down against Gasquet

Defending St. Petersburg Open champion Daniil Medvedev got a scare in his first-round match on Wednesday, but the Russian rallied for a 3-6, 6-3, 6-0 victory against former World No. 7 Richard Gasquet.

The top seed crushed 22 aces en route to his one-hour, 37-minute victory, levelling his ATP Head2Head series with Gasquet at 1-1. Medvedev will next play big-serving American Reilly Opelka, who eliminated Croatian qualifier Nino Serdarusic earlier in the day.

Medvedev was on his way to a fourth consecutive loss when he dumped a backhand into the net to end the first set. Three of the Russian’s ATP Tour titles have come on indoor hard courts, but he struggled to find rhythm in the opening set, especially with his trusty backhand.

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But the World No. 6 settled down against the French veteran, breaking Gasquet’s serve four times in the final two sets to advance. Medvedev won 27 of his 30 first-serve points in the second and third sets, while also showing the shotmaking skills that have made him one of the toughest players to beat.

Opelka, his next opponent, fired 26 aces and won 91 per cent of his first-serve points (49/54) to get the better of Serdarusic 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-2 in one hour and 34 minutes.

The American has now struck 328 aces in 17 tour-level matches this season. Medvedev has won their two previous meetings, but they both went to final-set tie-breaks.

Did You Know?
Six Russians are into the Round of 16 at an ATP Tour event for the first time since 2009. The six who advanced are Medvedev, Andrey Rublev, Karen Khachanov, Aslan Karatsev, Evgeny Donskoy and Roman Safiullin.

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