Australian Open: Daniil Medvedev beat Henri Laaksonen to advance to second round

The Russian world number two registered a dominant 6-1, 6-4, 7-6 (3) victory against Switzerland's Henri Laaksonen in the Rod Laver Arena.

Daniil Medvedev in a file photo; Credit: Twitter/@DaniilMedwed

Daniil Medvedev defeated Switzerland’s Henri Laaksonen with ruthless efficiency to go through to the second round of the 2022 Australian Open. The Russian world number two registered a dominant 6-1, 6-4, 7-6 (3) victory in the Rod Laver Arena. The US Open champion is one of the favourite’s to win the first Grand Slam of the year following the deportation of Novak Djokovic. He was in cruise control in the first two sets before being dragged into a fight in the third set. Laaksonen produced some scintillating tennis to keep in touch with the Russian but in the end, faltered with a pair of unforced errors.

Playing in his first grand slam since winning at Flushing Meadows, Medvedev dropped serve in the opening game before cruising past his opponent in one hour and 54-minutes. Aiming to be the first man in Open Era to win his second  major title on his next Grand Slam appearance, Medvedev didn’t face a breakpoint in sets two and three, though Laaksonen allowed just one breakpoint on his own serve in that period as the match tightened down the stretch.

“He started playing better. He was touching a lot of the lines,” Medvedev said of his opponent’s third-set surge. “He was controlling the game, was hitting full power every shot he had.”

Medvedev, who is bidding to become the first Russian to win the Australian Open since Maratt Safin in 2005, maintained his composure at the crucial moment. Although the 25-year-old lost a 32-ball rally at 3-2 in the tie-break, he baited his opponent to three unforced errors and thereby winning the match’s last four points.

I like pressure: Medvedev

The highest-seeded player in the men’s draw, Medvedev is not shying away from challenges: “I like pressure,” he said in his on-court interview. “It’s a really important tournament for me always in Australia. I like to play here, I like hard courts. So I always want to do better than I did last year, but it’s not going to be easy.”

After the convincing win against world number 91 Laaksonen, Medvedev will face the winner home favourite Nick Kyrgios and Liam Broady for a place in the third round.

Meanwhile 19-year-old Leylah Fernandez lost 6-2. 6-4 to 133rd ranked would- card entry Maddison Inglis in her first grand slam match since her runner-up finish at the US Open. The Canadian teenager made 30 unforced errors, dropped her serve three times and hit only eight winners in 1573 Arena against Inglis, who converted her third match point to complete her first win in the main draw of a major.

“Today was just not a good day. Too many mistakes,” Fernandez said.

Sportslumo Desk

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