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Report: Medvedev switched on against Giron

  • Ravi Ubha

Men's singles first round

Daniil Medvedev is almost automatic to avoid defeat in the opening round of a hard-court Grand Slam. 

MORE: All the scores from Day 1 at AO 2023

It last happened in 2017, and Medvedev ensured the streak continued in Monday's night session at AO 2023 after easing past Marcos Giron 6-0 6-1 6-2 in 96 minutes. 

The build-up

Medvedev isn't the lone player to lose to Novak Djokovic on Australian soil, but the defeat in the Adelaide International semifinals in early January wasn't as close as their marathon encounters at the ATP Finals in November and in Astana the month before. 

Medvedev entered AO 2023 ranked eighth, a drop of six places from 12 months ago when the 26-year-old let slip a two-set lead against Rafael Nadal in the final. He fell in the fourth round in his two other majors in 2022. 

MORE: AO 2023 men's singles draw

Thus, one wonders where his confidence rests. 

Giron made his first career final at the end of last season, well after a stellar university career at UCLA and multiple hip surgeries. 

The American baseliner is known for contesting long encounters – just like his opponent. Indeed, in his first match of the new season in Adelaide, he saved two match points to oust Richard Gasquet in three hours. 

Cam Norrie, the eventual finalist, needed three sets to get the better of the world No.56 in the Auckland quarterfinals. 

Story of the match

Holding a 1-11 record against the top 10, Giron needed to stay close with Medvedev. 

But after Medvedev quickly held to begin proceedings, Giron – sporting a sleeveless top – dropped serve in a marathon 12-minute game. 

He sought to outlast Medvedev, evidenced by 19 of the set's 53 points stretching to nine or more strokes. However, Medvedev won almost double those points, so Giron altered his tactics. 

No matter what Giron threw at him, Medvedev had the answers (Getty Images)

The plan seemed to entail working his way into the net, and earlier in rallies, but that often plays into the hands of the counterpunching 2021 US Open winner. 

That was evidenced by perhaps the point of the match, at 3-1, 15-all in the second. Giron ripped three successive shots, only for each to come back. 

His forehand volley gave Medvedev a chance to reply and he did, Giron subsequently erring on a stretch volley. 

Medvedev sauntered forward at times, too, or we should say, charged forward like a bull. 

Giron looked skywards as the match continued to slip away. Authoring remarkable comebacks in his career against Grigor Dimitrov and Gilles Simon in Paris, there was no coming back against Medvedev. 

"Really happy with the match," Medvedev said on court afterwards. "Marcos is a tough opponent, and to beat him with this score in the first round of a Slam is great."

Key stats

Serving statistics showed how difficult it was for Giron to hold. He won less than half of his first and second serve points. 

Meanwhile, Medvedev didn't face a break point from deep in the first set until late in the third. 

What this means for Medvedev

Medvedev will have known about Giron's ability to go deep in rallies and matches, so prevailing in straight sets made for the best possible start. 

He will have to contend with 'Millmania' in the second round, after John Millman edged Marc-Andrea Huesler in five sets. Millman possesses a style of play similar to Giron's, though with more bite.  

The Brisbane native, 33 and needing a wildcard for the main draw, and Medvedev have never faced off. Medvedev, though, took note of Millman's dramatic encounters with Roger Federer in Melbourne in 2020 and at the US Open in 2018. 

"He's capable of playing some great tennis, so I'm going to have to play my best also," said Medvedev. 

Medvedev said he had "great memories" of his 2022 stay — but wanted to have better ones this year. Presumably, winning the title. 

What's next for Giron?

Giron must be hoping the draw gods do him a favour at the upcoming Grand Slams. His tussle against Medvedev came after he drew Nadal in last year's first round and seeds Grigor Dimitrov, Holger Rune and Frances Tiafoe in the opening round at his three subsequent majors.