Australian Open: Daniil Medvedev struggles but wins when his rival retires

Sebastian Korda, Hugo Gaston, Flavio Cobolli reached the second round

by Jovica Ilic
Australian Open: Daniil Medvedev struggles but wins when his rival retires
© Julian Finney / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Two-time Australian Open finalist Daniil Medvedev made a winning start at Melbourne Park. Daniil met a qualifier Terence Atmane in his first match of the season and moved through when his rival retired at 5-7, 6-2, 6-4, 1-0 after two hours and 37 minutes at Margaret Court Arena.

Daniil needed some time to find his strokes during the afternoon heat, losing the opener before settling into a fine rhythm. Atmane struggled physically and retired at 0-40 in the fourth set's second game, ending his Major debut in tears.

The Russian played better behind the second serve, getting broken three times and delivering six breaks from 19 opportunities. They stayed neck and neck in the shortest and most advanced exchanges, and Daniil took charge in the mid-range ones.

Medvedev grabbed an early break in the encounter's third game, seizing the fourth break point with a forehand down the line winner. World no. 3 closed the fourth game at love with a service winner, cementing the advantage and opening a 3-1 gap.

Sebastian Korda, Australian Open 2024© Kelly Defina / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

They served well in the upcoming games, and a left-handed Frenchman fired a service winner in game nine for a hold at 15, prolonging the action.

Daniil barely lost a point behind the initial shot in the opening four games, and it all changed at 5-4. He missed a backhand and offered his rival three break chances. Terence seized the second after forcing Daniil's lob mistake with a fine lob, locking the result at 5-5 and gaining a boost.

Serving well after getting broken, Atmane grabbed the 11th game for the lead and pushed strong on the return in the next one. A qualifier seized the third set point after Medvedev's terrible drop shot, securing the opener 7-5 in 47 minutes.

The Frenchman squandered game points at the beginning of the second set, and the Russian seized the fourth break point for an early lead. A left-hander netted a forehand in the third game, experiencing another break and falling 3-0 behind.

Atmane held at love at 0-4 to reduce the deficit and earned a break chance in the next one.

Daniil Medvedev is through into the Australian Open second round.

Daniil denied it with a forced error and held for 5-1. Medvedev constructed four set points on the return in game seven, squandering them and allowing his opponent to prolong the battle.

The Russian left that game behind and fired a service winner at 5-2, wrapping up the set and leveling the overall score. Struggling with the pain in his right leg, Terence opted for an underarm serve in the third set's third game.

Daniil caught the ball and fired a winner that sent him in front. A qualifier attacked in the fourth game and pulled the break back, locking the result at 2-2. Atmane squandered a game point in game five and lost serve after Medvedev's perfect drop shot winner.

World no. 3 secured the sixth game with a service winner, moving 4-2 in front and firing an ace at 4-3 to stay in front. Terence produced a fine hold in game nine, prolonging the set before Daniil clinched the next one with a service winner, taking the set 6-4 and moving closer to the finish line.

Atmane got broken at the start of the fourth set and decided to retire after falling 40-0 behind in game two. The 29th seed and last year's quarter-finalist Sebastian Korda worked hard in a 6-1, 6-4, 2-6, 4-6, 6-2 triumph over a qualifier Vit Kopriva in three hours and five minutes.

Two rivals sprayed over 100 unforced errors, and the American made the difference after playing better behind the second serve. Kopriva seized six out of eight break points to stay in touch. However, he played against 18 break points, losing serve eight times and finishing on the losing side despite a great effort.

Sebastian served well in the opener and grabbed two consecutive breaks for 6-1 and a boost. Kopriva climbed back from 3-1 down in the second set and earned a break chance at 4-3. Korda denied it, broke his opponent at 4-4 on the fifth chance and held at love in game ten for two sets to love advantage.

Flavio Cobolli, Australian Open 2024© Daniel Pockett / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

The Czech took charge in the middle of the third set, rattling off four games and claiming the set 6-2. Sebastian squandered an early advantage in the fourth set and experienced a break at 4-5, allowing Vit to force a decider.

The Czech led 2-0 before the American shifted into a higher gear, taking 24 out of the final 29 points and moving over the top with six straight games on his tally. The lucky loser Hugo Gaston ousted Roberto Carballes Baena 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 in two hours and 54 minutes, losing serve two times and delivering five breaks to move over the top and celebrate his first Australian Open victory.

A qualifier Flavio Cobolli defeated the 18th seed Nicolas Jarry 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 2-6, 7-5 in four hours and one minute, scoring his first Major win at 21. The more experienced player grabbed the fourth set in style and kept that momentum in the fifth, delivering a break and barely losing a point behind the initial shot. Still, Cobolli presented an impressive comeback, taking all four games from 3-5 to seal the deal in style.

Daniil Medvedev Sebastian Korda Hugo Gaston