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Daniil Medvedev scraps for opening win in Toronto

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Top-seeded Daniil Medvedev needed three sets and two hours to win his opener at the National Bank Open, rallying past Kazakhstan’s Alexander Bublik 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the second round at Toronto.

The tournament’s top 16 seeds received first-round byes.

Medvedev, a 25-year-old Russian who got to the Australian Open final earlier this year, converted the only break point of the third set in the first game. He won 20 of his 23 service points in the set to seal the win.

Overall, Bublik put just 47 percent of his first serves in play while Medvedev was at 61 percent.

Medvedev acknowledged postmatch that he was helped by a rain delay.

“I don’t know if the conditions changed with the humidity, but I was not playing well before the rain. I had my opportunities. I was missing second-serve returns, missing balls. I knew I had to play better if I was to win.

“When back on the court, from the first game I felt much better. I only felt better and better during the match, he did not have one break point (after the rain). I turned around the match completely.”

Three other second-round matches were contested Tuesday night.

Third-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece defeated France’s Ugo Humbert 6-3, 6-7 (13), 6-1 despite squandering five match points in the marathon tiebreaker.

Sixth-seeded Casper Ruud of Norway topped Croatia’s Marin Cilic 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, and the United States’ Reilly Opelka dumped 14th-seeded Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria 6-3, 6-4.

In first-round action, 20-year-old Jenson Brooksby of the United States saw his hot streak end with a 2-6, 6-0, 6-4 loss to Georgia’s Nikoloz Basilashvili.

Brooksby never previously advanced to an ATP Tour quarterfinal before he got to the final at Newport, R.I., last month and then reached the semifinals at Washington last week.

Basilashvili is aiming for his third ATP Tour title of the year, having prevailed at Doha, Qatar, in March and at Munich, Germany, in May.

Also earning first-round wins were France’s Benoit Paire, Russia’s Karen Khachanov, Serbia’s Dusan Lajovic, Japan’s Kei Nishikori and the United States’ John Isner and Frances Tiafoe.

The tournament draw was weakened Tuesday with the late withdrawal of second-seeded Rafael Nadal. The Spanish star, who is a five-time champion of the event, cited an injured left foot for his exit. He is the two-time defending title holder after the tournament wasn’t held in 2020 because of the pandemic.

“I really wanted to play here a lot, but now is the moment to make a decision, and this is unfortunately the decision that I have taken,” Nadal said.

–Field Level Media

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