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Number 1 Daniil Medvedev wins US Open first round match in straight sets in start of title defense

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World No. 1 Daniil Medvedev wins first round of US Open in straight sets… as Russian begins to defend his title in Flushing Meadows

  • The Russian won the match 6-2, 6-4, 6-0 against the American Stefan Kozlov
  • Medvedev defeated Novak Djokovic in the US Open men’s final last year
  • He is about to meet the 58th Frenchman Arthur Rinderknech on Wednesday

World number one Daniil Medvedev opened his US Open title defense on Monday by beating American Stefan Kozlov 6-2 6-4 6-0 in blistering conditions at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

The Russian had an inconsistent run-up to Flushing Meadows but was back on top form on the field where he won his first Grand Slam title a year ago, crossing 10 aces and neutralizing Kozlov’s serve.

“First of all happy to win… not easy circumstances,” said Medvedev, who repeatedly wrapped an ice towel around his neck to keep cool in the humid 29.4 degrees Celsius conditions. “Serving was the key word today.”

The duo traded breaks early in the first set before Medvedev got his engine running, winning the next four games as Kozlov won less than half of his first serve points.

Russian tennis player Daniil Medvedev is well on his way to defending his title in Vlissingen

Kozlov was no match for Medvedev’s brute strength in the second set. The American scraped his wrist and knee after diving to retrieve the ball, but ended up falling heavily in the ninth game in which Medvedev broke him to love.

He called on the coach to take care of the injuries, but Medvedev showed no mercy for his former junior rival as he raced through the final set in just 27 minutes to arrange a second-round encounter with Frenchman Arthur Rinderknech.

“He’s always hard to beat, so I’m glad I managed to find the right rhythm today,” Medvedev told reporters.

“I feel like I haven’t served badly. My shots weren’t that bad. Few casual mistakes here and there, but especially the third set was the best set of mine.’

While some struggle with the pressure to be defending champions, Medvedev relishes the challenge. The 26-year-old was defeated by Nick Kyrgios in his opening game at the Canadian Masters, but reached the Cincinnati semifinals earlier this month.

“I know I want to play well and if I don’t I don’t care if I won last year, I’ll just be disappointed that this year didn’t go my way,” he said.

“I remember last year there were some crazy games. I mean, to be honest, they were all of a very high standard from me. I want to keep doing that this year.’

Medvedev easily sent American Stefan Kozlov to Arthur Ashe Stadium on Monday

Medvedev easily sent American Stefan Kozlov to Arthur Ashe Stadium on Monday

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