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By Richard Pagliaro | @Tennis_Now | Tuesday, May 30, 2023


World No. 172 Thiago Seyboth Wild shocked No. 2 Daniil Medvedev 7-6(5), 6-7(6), 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 in a stirring Roland Garros opening-round upset.

Photo credit: Julian Finney/Getty

​​Rome's red clay was a springboard to Daniil Medvedev's maiden clay-court title and French Open dreams.

Today, inspired world No. 172 Thiago Seyboth Wild turned Paris' pristine clay into major sinkhole for the world No. 2.

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Roaring back from a two-sets to one deficit, the Brazilian qualifier Seyboth Wild shocked Medvedev 7-6(5), 6-7(6), 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 in a stirring Roland Garros opening-round upset.

Fighting a stiff breeze and a stinging topspin forehand from his opponent, Medvedev was edged by the ambitious Brazilian.

"He was controlling almost all the points, and I was suffering a lot, especially on the side against the wind," Medvedev said. "That's why yeah, that's basically why it was tough and why I lost."

Talk about a Wild world.

This was Seyboth Wild's first career Grand Slam win and a historic victory. Seyboth Wild made history in becoming the lowest-ranked man to defeat a world No. 2 at Roland Garros in a quarter century.

An admitted Medvedev fan, the 23-year-old Brazilian boldly attacked his forehand to bounce the 2021 US Open champion and score his first Top 10 win.
In just his second major main-draw match, Seyboth Wild fought off cramps, a botched smash that cost him the second set and the world No. 2 to realize a life-long dream.

"I've watched Daniil play my entire junior career until today," Seyboth Wild told Fabrice Santoro in his on-court interview afterward. "I've always dreamed about playing on this court and playing this type of players.

"In my best dreams I've had a few of them and it's a dream come true."

Tennis Express

Rome champion Medvedev walked on court flying high as the 2023 ATP leader in titles (5), finals (6) and wins (39) and had dropped just one set beating top clay contenders on the choppy courts of the Foro Italico.

In theory, Paris' smoother clay surface and the more expansive running room on court Philippe Chatrier, the largest clay court in the sport, would play to Medvedev's strengths allowing him to use his standard deep return positioning to command points.

In reality, Medvedev struggled to play off the front foot at critical stages, wasn't generating his customary free points off serve, watched the Brazilian blister forehands past him, flamed out hitting a horrid 15 double faults and feuded with a few fans at one point repeatedly pressed his index finger to his lips imploring French fans to "shut up" over a line-call check.

"I think I was fighting well. Physically I was not feeling that bad," Medvedev said. "I mean, I'm a little bit tired now but also when you lose your body goes down faster. If I would win I would not feel that tired.

"Mentally I was fighting. I was fighting. The last game, brought it back to 30-All, guy makes two winners, okay, whatever. Hopefully can make it next time.

"But yeah, I think, again, for sure I'm really disappointed. I'm gonna be one week thinking about this match, but for the moment I don't see anything wrong I did. I mean, double faults, the wind was crazy today, so it was not easy."

As for his attempt to mute the crowd, Medvedev said he admonished fans for disrupting his conversation with the chair umpire.

"The only thing when I asked the umpire to check the mark was pretty close, in my opinion," Medvedev said. "I was just discussing with her like where does she see the ball in, and getting booed for whatever reason.

"I just told them to shut up, and that's it. Because I was discussing with another person, not with them, so they should shut up at this moment. Other than that, everything was fine, I think."

All in all, Medvedev couldn't find solutions and didn't do the dirty work necessary as he fell in the French Open first round for the fifth time in seven appearances.

Beating Medvedev in crosscourt forehand exchanges, Seyboth Wild unleashed his flame-thrower forehand scorching 24 more winners—69 to 45—than the 2021 French Open quarterfinalist.

Seyboth Wild said afterward his game-plan was simple: Engage in as many forehand exchanges as possible, attack net and work the width of the court. He did all of it and showed some fine feel in the frontcourt winning 38 of 55 trips to net.

"Walking on the court I really just wanted to get the angles, try to get to net as much as possible, try to use my forehand against his and it worked pretty well," Seyboth Wild said.

Though Medvedev is one of tennis' top tacticians possessing a tennis mind so shrewd Hall of Famer John McEnroe calls him "a chess master" on court, he inexplicably continues to falter in marathon matches. Medvedev dropped to 3-9 lifetime in five-setters, including 0-2 in five-set French Open matches.

It's not the Medvedev can't shift the gears of his game to challenge opponents. It's that today he struggled to end points on the slow red clay and opted to commit to one game plan: Make the qualifier go for it and beat you. Seyboth Wild did exactly that with the match on the line.

The skill to detonate a point with the deep forehand drive was the key stroke down the stretch for Seyboth Wild.

Deadlocked at 3-3 in the final set, Seyboth Wild whipped a forehand winner into the corner then drew the backhand error scoring his seventh break of the day for 4-3.

Impressively, the Brazilian did not shrink from the moment.

A sweet backhand drop volley capped a love hold to confirm the break for 5-3.

Serving for the biggest win of his life, Seyboth Wild did not hold back.

At 30-all when his moment of truth arrived, Seyboth Wild rocketed a 98 mph diagonal forehand winner for match point.

Playing primarily down the middle on match point, Medvedev basically lured his opponent into going for it to win the match.

The Brazilian took the bait, measured the ball and slashed a flat forehand drive down the line wrapping up a brilliant win in four hours, 14 minutes.

The tatooed Seyboth Wild wore a wide smile plastered across his face as he engaged in a heart-felt embrace with coach Duda Matos afterward. Both player and coach relishing this dream day.


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