Under the Patronage of H.h. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai

February 18- March 2, 2024
Dubai Duty Free tennis stadium
February 18- March 2, 2024
Dubai Duty Free tennis stadium
February 27, 2024

Medvedev eyes maiden title defence in Dubai as struggling Indian No. 2 slips out to Sonego

Daniil Medvedev

Reigning champion and world No. 4 Daniil Medvedev beats Alexander Shevchenko in straight sets to line-up Round of 16 tie with Italian Sonego at Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium
While Indian No. 1 Sumit Nagal limps out in pain against Sonego, doubles specialist Rohan Bopanna progresses to quarterfinals after beating old playing partner Qureshi

Dubai, UAE—February 27, 2024: Daniil Medvedev, reigning champion at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, got his title defence off to a solid start on Tuesday night, making light work of Alexander Shevchenko under the lights of Centre Court.

Making his first appearance since losing in the final of the Australian Open to Jannik Sinner last month, world No. 4 Medvedev defeated his Kazakh opponent, 6-3, 7-5, in a little under 90 minutes, showing few signs of the niggling injuries that have plagued him since his Melbourne loss.

Watch Medvedev vs. Shevchenko Dubai Highlights

In the first set, the ATP 500 tournament’s top seed broke his opponent’s service game three times in succession to secure the outright lead before, in the second set, he fought back from 3-5 down to win four games in a row and progress to the Round of 16.

Shevchenko, returning after a lengthy period on the sidelines, showed glimpses of the form that took him up to world No. 45 earlier this month. His booming serve, with which he hit six aces, had Medvedev standing so far behind the baseline he was almost in the stands with the fans. Yet the 23-year-old was unable to make it count, faltering in the 10th set while serving to level the tie.

“He played well, especially the second set, and that’s why the score was tougher in the second set,” said Medvedev. “I managed to play a very good game when he served for the set and managed to [win] the next one on my serve which was tricky. In general, to be honest, I am happy with my level, because it is not easy to come back after an injury. You always try to straightaway put your game back, but it’s not easy and I’m happy to beat such a good opponent. Looking forward to the next round.”

Photos: ATP Day 2 action at the 2024 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships

Next up for Medvedev is Italian Lorenzo Sonego, who can take belief from the fact Medvedev has won 20 titles on Tour during a 10-year career, yet never successfully defended any of them.

“I definitely want to do it one time in my career,” said Medvedev when the statistic was put to him. “It’s not going to be easy here, with so many top players. Today was quite a good match, but it was not perfect. If you want to win titles, at one moment, especially later in the tournament, you’ll have to be perfect. But that’s what I’m going to try to aim for.”

Lorenzo Sonego

Sonego for his part beat Indian No. 1 Sumit Nagal, 6-4, 5-7, 6-1, in a gruelling match that saw Nagal play through pain, calling for a medical timeout in the third set. Sonego conceded he felt sorry for his opponent, who was struggling badly by the end of the two-hour-and-19-minute slog.

“Really tough match, a tough battle, and I feel sorry for him,” said Sonego, the world No. 48 and a former quarterfinalist in Dubai. “With all that was going on with him, I needed to stay focused on every point, but I feel confident on this court. I played really well and now I want to play the second round.”

On the prospect of facing Medvedev in the next round, Sonego added: “It’s difficult to play against him. He’s in good shape and I will need to be at my best, but I want to just enjoy every moment on this court. I really like playing here.”

Jakub Mensik

Meanwhile on Court 1, 18-year-old Czech Jakub Mensik continued his impressive start to the season, edging Borna Coric, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(7) after nearly three hours. Mensik, who received a special exemption into the main draw after reaching the final of the Qatar Open last week, attracted a strong crowd to the side-courts where fans can watch without tickets. Having saved a match point, world No. 87 held his nerve to progress during the decisive tiebreak. He will now play Spanish No. 8 seed Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.

On the same court, India’s Rohan Bopanna and Australia’s Matthew Ebden made their first outing since winning the men’s doubles at the Australian Open last month. The top seed pairing narrowly defeated wildcards Skander Mansouri and Bopanna’s former playing partner Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi, 7-6(4), 7-6(5). Bopanna and Qureshi won together in Dubai in 2014; 10 years later Bopanna and Ebden will face Ariel Behar and Adam Pavlasek in the quarterfinals.

The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships is owned and organised by Dubai Duty Free and held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. Tickets for this week’s ATP event are available to purchase at www.dubaidutyfreetennischampionships.com.

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