Medvedev, Tiafoe pick up wins at Wimbledon

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Russian No. 3 seed Daniil Medvedev fought off the spirited efforts of British world No. 391 Arthur Fery with a 7-5 6-4 6-3 victory over the 20-year-old wild card Wednesday as he starts his latest attempt for a serious challenge at Wimbledon.

Medvedev, the 2021 US Open champion, world No. 1 in 2022 and winner of five tournaments this year, has only once reached the fourth round, though he missed last year’s tournament due to the ban on Russian players.

Fery, making his Tour-level debut, knocked him out of his stride for a while with a sustained serve-and-volley approach, but a rain break at 5-5 in the first set changed the dynamic and Medvedev quickly wrapped up the opener.

It was not the procession many expected after that, though, with Fery breaking to love early in the second set as Medvedev, 27, struggled for consistency. His serve remained a powerful weapon, however, and enabled him to avoid further scares.

American Frances Tiafoe kicked off his bid for a first Grand Slam title by sealing a 7-6 (4) 6-3 6-4 win over Chinese debutant Wu Yibing in a rain-interrupted first-round clash.

Tiafoe, seeking to become the first American man to win the trophy since Pete Sampras bagged his seventh title at the grass-court major in 2000, recovered after dropping his serve early in the first set to level at 2-2 before rain halted play.

The players returned but were back inside two games later, and when play resumed again, it was Tiafoe, 25, who took charge of the tight opening set in the tiebreak and closed it out with a powerful serve.

“I love playing on grass and I have high hopes here for Wimbledon,” said Tiafoe, who warmed up for Wimbledon by winning the Stuttgart grass-court title.

“I definitely didn’t come along for a vacation. I want to do real damage here and hopefully be here two Sundays from now.”

Wu, making his Wimbledon debut and his fourth appearance at a Grand Slam, took a medical timeout early in the second set and had his pulse checked but resumed following a lengthy off-court evaluation.

The world No. 62 did not seem too badly affected by the unspecified issue, but Tiafoe shifted gears to double his lead in the match. After freely trading breaks in the third, he closed out the victory with a solid service game.

“Obviously, he’s a high-quality player. It’s tough, he wasn’t feeling well. With that and all the rain delays there was a lot of waiting,” Tiafoe added.

“I’m a really relaxed guy, but I do like finishing a tennis match. I was happy how I handled it.”

The 10th seed, who reached the fourth round last year, next meets Dominic Stricker after the Swiss qualifier beat Australian Alexei Popyrin 3-6 6-3 6-2 4-6 7-5.

Taylor Fritz, a quarterfinalist last year, also booked a spot in the second round against Mikael Ymer after a 6-4, 2-6, 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 win over Yannick Hanfmann.

That match was suspended Monday due to darkness and could not resume on a rainy Tuesday with Fritz up 3-2 in the decider.

“It’s great. I’m going to have to play tomorrow. It rained all day yesterday and off and on today, so I really just wanted to get on court and play,” Fritz said.

“I’m glad I can just focus on the next match.”

The world No. 9, along with Tiafoe, is looking to become the first American men’s Grand Slam champion since Andy Roddick won the US Open in 2003.

Information from Reuters was used in this report

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