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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Monday February 8, 2020


Russia’s Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev are fresh off a dominant ATP Cup performance in Melbourne, and the pair didn’t skip a beat on Day 2 as both eased into the second round in straight sets at the Australian Open.

Tennis Express

Medvedev locked up his 15th consecutive victory, 6-2 6-2 6-4 over Vasek Pospisil, while Rublev rifled past Yannick Hanfmann of Germany, 6-3, 6-3, 6-4, behind 17 aces and 35 winners.

Almost forgotten in the shuffle is Karen Khachanov, the third highest-ranked Russian, who was not a part of the ATP Cup team last week. He progressed as well, defeating Aleksandar Vukic, 6-3, 6-7(4), 6-7(2), 6-4.

That’s three Top 20 seeds, all in the same half of the draw—not too shabby for Russia.

Medvedev, seeded 4, and Rublev, seeded 7, are potential quarterfinal opponents in Melbourne, and at the moment it is hard to see either one getting upended before that potential matchup.

Medvedev has the upper hand over Rublev in their head-to-head. He has won all four of their meetings, including a straight sets victory in the quarterfinals at last year’s US Open.


Rublev, who leads the ATP in wins and titles since the beginning of 2020, says he was happy to work through the typical nerves that come in the first match of a Grand Slam.

“I was a bit nervous because it's first match of Grand Slam of the year, so I start a bit tight,” he said. “But anyway, I could come back really fast and I start to control the match already almost in the middle of the set I was already controlling the match, so I'm really happy with this and in the end until the end of the match I was controlling the match, so in the end I'm really happy that I could finish the match quite confident and in straight sets and that's what I need for the first match to get confidence, to get this feeling to don't stay long on court, to save energy.”

Medvedev is feeling confident, despite the fact that he and all his fellow players have been through some very difficult circumstances in Melbourne. First there was the much-publicized two-week quarantine, then there was the day-long shutdown when a hotel worker tested positive for Covid-19 last week, which put all the tournaments on hold temporarily and left a lot of doubt in the minds of the players.

Nothing seems to be able to slow Medvedev down at the moment. Since he began his title run at last year’s Paris masters he has locked down ten consecutive wins against Top 10 players.

“I'm feeling confident,” he said. “Winning almost everything in straight sets is important, so I'm feeling confident about myself. I know that I can do well, but a Grand Slam is not an easy thing.”

 

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