Coming off the highs and lows of reaching a Grand Slam final can be understandably tricky for any player. Just ask Jennifer Brady, and now Daniil Medvedev.
The draws at the follow-up events for the pair of Australian Open finalists were strong from the onset. The 13th-ranked Brady was outclassed by 24th-ranked Anett Kontaveit, 6-1, 6-2, in her Doha opener. On Wednesday, Medevedev—making his debut inside the ATP’s Top 3—was sent packing in Rotterdam by world No. 27 Dusan Lajovic.
Lajovic ousted the top seed at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament, 7-6 (4), 6-4. Medvedev broke serve just once, taking an early 3-2 lead in the opening set, but was unable to consolidate. He struggled to make further inroads against Lajovic’s serve, as the Serbian delivered consistent hitting in striking 15 winners to 12 unforced errors and refused to be pushed back behind the baseline.
“I think I was very focused the whole match. I tried not to be influenced by his good shots, his good serves,” Lajovic told the world feed afterwards. “I knew if I stayed there, I would get my opportunities, which happened.”
At 4-4 in the second set, Medvedev imploded with three double faults to get broken, bringing his total to eight on the day. The Russian slammed his racquet down twice before walking to his player bench, incurring a point penalty following a previous code violation. Lajovic closed the door at love to improve his head-to-head series with Medvedev to 2-1.
“There is no room and no time to doubt yourself, especially in the moments where you feel maybe he’s not playing his best tennis right now,” said Lajovic. “But he’s not giving you anything. Whenever he finds the opportunity, he will use it.
“I think in the second set, he lost a little bit of solutions [for] what he needed to do on court. Under pressure, it’s not easy to play when you don’t find your rhythm. At the end of the second set, he cracked a little bit.”
Lajovic will take on Borna Coric in the second round Thursday.
Third seed Alexander Zverev, who took a wild card into the 500-level event, was also eliminated on Wednesday. Fresh off his runner-up showing in Singapore, Alexander Bublik continued his run of positive results to knock out the seventh-ranked German, 7-5, 6-3.
“I believe the match was a bit of ups and downs for both of us,” assessed Bublik. “I think he didn’t play well today. I didn’t either, had some problems on serve. I was just maybe more consistent today, and lucky.”
Ranked a career-high No. 43 this week, Bublik posted his second Top 10 win of the season (he also defeated No. 10 Matteo Berrettini in Antalya) after notching just one in six previous opportunities. He will meet Tommy Paul, a 6-4, 7-6 (7) winner over Lorenzo Sonego, for a spot in the last eight.
Last week’s Montpellier champion David Goffin also stayed hot, surging past Jan-Lennard Struff, 6-4, 6-0. The No. 6 seed won 50 percent of his return points to break Struff five times in the 62-minute victory. Goffin gets Jeremy Chardy next and holds a 2-1 edge against the Frenchman.
In an evening encounter, fourth seed Andrey Rublev advanced past 2009 winner Andy Murray, 7-5, 6-2. Murray held two break points to force a tie-break in the opening set, but missed consecutive forehands. With a set in hand, Rublev then pulled away, finishing with 24 winners to 12 unforced errors to reach the quarterfinals. The two were facing off for the first time since the 2017 Australian Open.