Daniil Medvedev news: Russian ‘not at the top’, but starts pursuit of No 1 ranking with solid win

Daniil Medvedev pleased

Daniil Medvedev kicked off his quest to become the world No 1 with a fighting win over Benoit Paire in the opening round of the Mexican Open.

The Russian, playing for the first time since his five-set defeat to Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open final, admitted that he was not at his best after a three-week break, but still had more than enough in his locker as he won 6-3, 6-4 in one hour and 42 minutes.

Victory means Medvedev is one step closer to replacing Novak Djokovic as world No 1 as a title win in Acapulco will see him take top spot regardless of the Serbian’s results in Dubai.

Both players were made to work to hold their serves in the opening two games before Medvedev broke to love in game three and wrapped up the set with a second break in game nine.

Paire looked like he would make a game of it as he broke in game five of the second set, but the top seed got back on serve in game eight and broke two love in game 10 to secure the win.

“It’s always not easy to come back after some rest and some time off competition,” Medvedev said. “Sometimes better, sometimes worse.

“I felt like my sensations were not at the top today, but I managed to fight until the end against a very tough opponent and I’m happy that I managed to win.”

The world No 2 will face Pablo Andujar in the second round after the Spaniard defeated Alex Hernandez from Mexico 6-0, 6-1.

He also remains on a collision course with Nadal as the Australian Open champion won his first-round clash against Denis Kudla.