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Top seed Medvedev falls at first hurdle

HAMBURG: Top seed Daniil Medvedev suffered a stunning 6-4, 6-3 defeat by Frenchman Ugo Humbert in his first claycourt match of the 2020 season at the Hamburg European Open on Tuesday.

Fresh off his run to the US Open semi-finals, world number five Medvedev struggled to find his feet on clay as he was broken three times by Humbert in a lacklustre performance.

Humbert, an aggressive baseliner, stole the show in front of a limited-capacity crowd at Rothenbaum stadium in the opening set when he outlasted Medvedev in a 32-shot rally, finishing with an emphatic forehand.

The result leaves Medvedev’s match record on clay at a dismal 10-17.

The 24-year-old Russian will now focus on a quick turnaround at the French Open, where he has failed to progress beyond the first round in his three previous appearances.

One week after becoming a father for the first time, fourth seed Roberto Bautista Agut celebrated a convincing 6-4, 6-3 victory over two-time defending champion Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia after saving two of the four break points he faced and converted four of his nine opportunities to triumph in one hour and 25 minutes.

Third seed Gael Monfils was also eliminated in the first round, losing 6-4, 6-3 to 103rd-ranked Yannick Hanfmann.

Hanfmann needed just one hour, 13 minutes to wrap up the win and the German will next face Cristian Garin, who swept past Japan’s Kei Nishikori 6-0, 6-3.

Garin is bidding to win his third trophy on clay this year.

Koepfer, meanwhile, defeated Yoshihito Nishioka 7-6 (7-0), 4-6, 6-1.

Fabio Fognini built up momentum after a slow start to oust Philipp Kohlschreiber 4-6, 6-1, 7-5. The sixth-seeded Italian will play either Casper Ruud or Benoit Paire in the second round.

Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime defeated Lorenzo Sonego of Italy 6-2, 7-6 (7-2) and will next play Alexander Bublik, who beat Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-2, 7-6 (7-5).

Published in Dawn, September 24th, 2020

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