LOS ANGELES (REUTERS) - Daniil Medvedev looked like he had a point to prove as the Russian got preparations for his US Open title defence back on track with a 6-4, 7-5 win over Botic van de Zandschulp in the second round of the Cincinnati Open on Tuesday (Aug 17).
He had been building momentum ahead of the year's last Grand Slam at Flushing Meadows by winning a tune-up event in Los Cabos without dropping a set but was beaten by Nick Kyrgios in the second round of the Canadian Masters in Montreal last week.
The world No. 1 starting strongly against Dutchman van de Zandschulp with an immediate break before going on to win the first set.
The second set posed more of a challenge, with Medvedev having to save a set point, but he capitalised on several double-faults from Van de Zandschulp before wrapping up the match.
"The second set was going not that bad," he said in an on-court interview. "He was not serving especially well today, doing a lot of double-faults. So I tried to keep pressure, use my chances.
"Two breaks on these fast courts is enough to win and I should have done a little bit better on my serve. But the first match is tricky and I'm happy that I managed to go though, and hopefully I will raise my level in the next matches."
Medvedev will face either American Tommy Paul or Canada's Denis Shapovalov in the next round.
World No. 4 Carlos Alcaraz also bounced back from last week's upset by Paul in Montreal, breezing past local hope Mackenzie McDonald 6-3, 6-2 to set up a third-round match-up against former US Open champion Marin Cilic, who beat Emil Ruusuvuori.
Kyrgios quickly regained his composure after losing his temper during a 7-5, 6-4 win over Alejandro Davidovich Fokina to reach the second round, where he will face Taylor Fritz.
He appeared in complete control when he fired down an unreturnable serve to capture the first set and went up a break early in the second.
But when the Spaniard levelled at 2-2, it prompted the fiery Australian to launch a ball into the stands in a moment reminiscent of his win over Stefanos Tsitsipas at Wimbledon, where the Greek did the same thing and Kyrgios argued unsuccessfully that he should be defaulted for it.
But Kyrgios quickly regained his cool, holding to love in the next game and sealing the victory with another massive serve to set up a meeting with American Fritz in the last tune-up event before the US Open, which begins on Aug 29 in New York.
Fritz's powerful serving and aggressive returns resulted in a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Argentine Sebastian Baez earlier in the day. The win was the 11th seed's 33rd of the year and it extended Baez's losing streak to six matches.
Jannik Sinner, seeded 10th, was made to work hard on his 21st birthday, the Italian needing three hours and 15 minutes for a 6-7 (9-11), 6-4, 7-6 (8-6) victory over Australia's Thanasi Kokkinakis to improve to 37-10 for the year.
Argentinian Diego Schwartzman also celebrated a birthday, his 30th, with a 7-6 (7-3), 3-6, 6-2 win over 2021 Australian Open semi-finalist Aslan Karatsev in a late match to advance to the third round.
In other first-round matches at the Masters 1000 tournament, Paul beat compatriot Jenson Brooksby 6-3, 6-2, Australia's Alex de Minaur dispatched Swiss Henri Laaksonen 6-2, 6-2, Croatian Borna Coric defeated Lorenzo Musetti 7-6 (7-2), 6-3 and Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas beat Italy's Fabio Fognini 6-2, 6-3.