Medvedev marks return with routine win in Los Cabos; Kyrgios advances at Washington Open

World No 1 defeats Hijikata in first match since June 23 having missed Wimbledon due to its ban on Russian players

Daniil Medvedev returns the ball to Rinky Hijikata during their Los Cabos Open match at the Cabo Sports Complex. AFP
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World No 1 Daniil Medvedev showed few signs of rust in his first match in six weeks, defeating Australian qualifier Rinky Hijikata 6-4, 6-3 at the Los Cabos Open on Wednesday.

Medvedev is playing his first tournament since bowing out of the quarter-finals in Mallorca on June 23. He missed Wimbledon because of its ban of Russian and Belarusian players in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The US Open champion gained the first break of the match to claim the opening set. He saved the first break point he faced in the opening game of the second, and gained the break he needed for a 4-2 lead against Hijikata.

The 21-year-old Australian world No 224 put up a fight, fending off a stream of break points before Medvedev closed it out after 90 minutes for his 250th match win.

"Someone told me this a few days ago," Medvedev said about the milestone. "Otherwise I would not have known. That's nice, a milestone in a way. I want more victories, but that's nice to have 250. We'll try to get more."

Medvedev, 26, next faces Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania, who beat Argentina's Facundo Bagnis 7-6, 6-3.

"It's definitely not that easy to play after you stop for a while, especially (playing my) first match on hard courts since a long, long time – since Miami," Medvedev said. "Sensations were not bad. I could have just broke a little bit more, but when you win everything is fine."

Second-seeded Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime also advanced, beating Mexico's Alex Hernandez 6-3, 7-5.

Hurkacz out, Kyrgios advances in Washington

Nick Kyrgios, of Australia, hits a forehand to Tommy Paul, of the United States, during the Citi Open tennis tournament in Washington, Wednesday, Aug.  3, 2022.  (AP Photo / Carolyn Kaster)

Elsewhere on the ATP Tour, Polish second seed Hurkacz crashed out in his second-round match at the Washington Open, falling to Finland's Emil Ruusuvuori 6-4, 7-6.

Wimbledon runner-up Nick Kyrgios of Australia defeated American 14th seed Tommy Paul 6-3, 6-4 to book a third-round date with US fourth seed Reilly Opelka.

World No 63 Kyrgios, whose most recent title came at Washington in 2019, broke to open and close the first set. Paul's fourth double fault gave the Australian a match point and his forehand shot beyond the baseline gave Kyrgios the victory in 85 minutes.

Ruusuvuori, set to rise one shy of his career-high to 43rd in the world rankings, denied Hurkacz on all four break-point chances to advance after one hour and 44 minutes.

"I just tried to hang in there and stay as tough as can," Ruusuvuori said. "Long rallies, they really drain you and you start to feel dizzy during the points. Very tough."

His third-round opponent will be Sweden's Mikael Ymer, who ousted 15th seed Aslan Karatsev 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 after eliminating three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray in the first round.

Japan's Yoshihito Nishioka ousted Australia 11th seed Alex De Minaur 3-6, 7-6, 6-2. The world No 96 will next face seventh seed Karen Khachanov.

US third seed Taylor Fritz beat Australia's Alexei Popyrin 6-4, 6-3 to book a third-round match against British 16th seed Daniel Evans.

World No 13 Fritz comes off a five-set Wimbledon quarter-final loss to Rafael Nadal and two weeks in a boot with a stress fracture in his left foot.

"It has felt great. No pain at all. It's a really good sign," Fritz said. "Gives me a lot of confidence moving forward."

Updated: August 04, 2022, 8:00 AM
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