Top seed Medvedev, Kyrgios advance at US Open

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NEW YORK — No. 1 seed Daniil Medvedev maintained his strong start to his US Open title defense on Wednesday, dispatching France’s Arthur Rinderknech 6-2, 7-5, 6-3 at Arthur Ashe Stadium to reach the third round.

After an inconsistent run-up to Flushing Meadows, Medvedev gained momentum after his straight-sets win over Stefan Kozlov in the first round on Monday and picked up where he left off against Rinderknech.

Medvedev frustrated Rinderknech with his flawless shot placement and pounced on his serve to keep Rinderknech pinned back on the baseline, while also saving all three break points he faced.

Medvedev capitalized on several unforced errors from Rinderknech to easily clinch the opening set, and although Medvedev faced greater resistance from the world No. 58 in the second, he was able to break through and prevent a tiebreak.

The 26-year-old Russian player dictated play with penetrating groundstrokes and got the crucial break in the third set by claiming the fifth game, before racing to victory in 2 hours, 10 minutes.

Medvedev is 22-4 at the US Open, where he was a finalist in 2019 before beating Novak Djokovic last year for his first major title.

Medvedev next plays Yibing Wu, the first Chinese man to win a US Open match in the professional era, which began in 1968.

Earlier Wednesday, Australian Nick Kyrgios powered past Benjamin Bonzi of France to reach the third round with a hard-fought 7-6 (3), 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 victory.

The big-serving Kyrgios struck 30 aces and won the final nine points of the match to end the punishing affair under the lights at Louis Armstrong Stadium.

“His level today was incredible; I was not expecting an absolute war,” Kyrgios said of Bonzi in an on-court interview. “That could have gone either way. He was up a break early in the fourth, but I played some really risky tennis late in the fourth set to win. I’m just happy to get through.”

In their first career meeting, Kyrgios unleashed some spectacular shot-making in the tiebreak and rode an early break in the second set to take a 2-0 lead.

Bonzi responded by taking the third set, and a decider appeared all but inevitable when Kyrgios trailed 0-40 while serving at 4-4 in the fourth.

“My mentality was I’m probably going to get broken. I was almost gearing myself up for a fifth set,” Kyrgios told reporters. “In those moments, I just played really low percentage. I just kind of hit a drop shot here, hit the forehand crosscourt, faked him out with the underarm … it got me out of jail.”

After serving his way out of trouble, Kyrgios sealed the match by breaking serve for a fourth time when Bonzi, who made some acrobatic dives for balls during the match, was unable to will his shot over the net on match point.

Kyrgios was bothered by what he thought was the smell of marijuana during the match, asking chair umpire Jaume Campistol to warn the crowd.

“You don’t want to remind anyone not to do it or anything?” Kyrgios asked during a changeover in the second set.

Louis Armstrong Stadium features concession stands along the concourse level above the court, and Campistol appeared to be telling Kyrgios the smell could be coming from their kitchens.

“Obviously, I’m not going to complain about food smells,” Kyrgios responded. “Obviously, not.”

Kyrgios said after afterward that he is asthmatic.

“When I’m running side to side, I’m struggling to breathe,” he said. “Probably not something I want to be breathing in in between points.”

The No. 23 seed was his usual animated self during the match, carrying on conversations with himself and people in the seats. He received a warning for using profanity when the target of his anger was somebody in his box whom Kyrgios didn’t feel was being supportive enough.

He overcame all of that to set up a third-round meeting with American J.J. Wolf (who battled past Alejandro Tabilo 4-6, 7-5, 6-4, 6-3 earlier in the day), keeping alive the potential for a showdown with Medvedev in the fourth round.

Britain’s Andy Murray, who won his maiden major crown in New York a decade ago, reached the third round of a Grand Slam for only the second time in five years after beating American wildcard Emilio Nava 5-7 6-3 6-1 6-0.

It is the first time that the 35-year-old, who plays Italian 13th seed Matteo Berrettini next, has reached the round of 32 at the US Open since 2016.

Felix Auger-Aliassime, a semifinalist at the US Open last year, was no match for the rapidly rising Jack Draper this year.

The No. 6 seed was eliminated 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 in a second-round night match.

Auger-Aliassime made his first trip to a Grand Slam semifinal last year as the first Canadian man ever to get that far at the US Open.

But Britain’s Draper rolled past him to continue his climb up the rankings. The left-hander from Britain was outside the top 250 last year, but he is now on the verge of moving into the top 50.

Also on Wednesday, John Isner withdrew from the tournament with a wrist injury, sending No. 28 seed Holger Rune into the third round with a walkover.

The 37-year-old Isner won his first-round match in straight sets on Tuesday. The U.S. Tennis Association announced his withdrawal Wednesday night.

Rune took a set from Djokovic last year in his US Open debut. Rune will face No. 7 seed Cameron Norrie or João Sousa in the third round.

Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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