Indian Wells: Russian tennis player Daniil Medvedev arrived in Indian Wells with a 3-3 record at the BNP Paribas Open. But the world No. 2 consolidated his status as tournament favourite with a resounding 6-4, 6-2 win against American Mackenzie McDonald to reach the third round here on Sunday (IST).
“I’m actually really pleased, because usually I haven’t played well in Indian Wells and I haven’t been playing that well in practices before (the tournament),” Medvedev, the winner of the US Open title this year, said.
“(I am) really happy with my performance. That’s the most important (thing) no matter how I played before the tournament,” the 25-year-old, who defeated world No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the US Open final, said.
Nonetheless, Medvedev has been in dominant form of late, winning 17 of his past 18 matches and 38 of his past 41 sets. Medvedev will next play American Marcos Giron or Serbian Filip Krajinovic.
The top seed put his skills on display inside the main stadium, producing some jaw-dropping winners. He did not face a break point against the world No. 57, and broke McDonald’s serve three times to triumph in one hour and 13 minutes.
“Mackenzie is a really strong opponent, he can put pressure on everybody,” Medvedev said. “I’m happy to be through quite fast.”
Medvedev is not just winning, he is doing so convincingly. Of the past 38 sets he has won, the Russian has been extended further than 6-4 just four times. He will next try to move past the third round at this event for the first time. The world No. 2 now leads McDonald 5-0 in their ATP head-to-head.
Meanwhile, Reilly Opelka of the US improved to 11-5 at ATP Masters 1000 events with a 7-5, 6-3 victory over Japan’s Taro Daniel to reach the third round here.
Opelka fired 11 aces and won 90 per cent of first-serve points. The 16th seed, who has now won 10 of his past 14 matches, also did not face a break point. Next up for the 24-year-old will be 23rd seed Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria or Daniel Altmaier of Germany.
The American was the finalist at the National Bank Open in August, losing to Medvedev in the final. Opelka is a two-time champion on the ATP Tour, with victories in New York in 2019 and Delray Beach in 2020, but is yet to win a title in 2021.
Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz began his campaign with a 6-1, 7-5 victory against Alexei Popyrin of Australia. The 24-year-old Pole is a three-time champion on the ATP Tour in 2021, including a maiden ATP Masters 1000 triumph at the Miami Open. Hurkacz defeated Italian Jannik Sinner in the final to become Poland’s first ATP Masters 1000 champion.
Hurkacz will next take on the winner of the all-American clash between 32nd seed Sebastian Korda and Frances Tiafoe.