Paris, May 30 (EFE).- World No. 2 Daniil Medvedev suffered his second straight early exit at a Grand Slam event this year, squandering a two-set-to-one lead in a shocking first-round French Open loss to 172nd-ranked Brazilian Thiago Seyboth Wild on Tuesday.
In what was the biggest upset of the tournament so far, the Russian committed a whopping 15 double faults in windy conditions and lost his serve seven times to fall 7-6 (7-5), 6-7 (6-8), 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 on Court Philippe-Chatrier.
The defeat was particularly surprising because the 27-year-old Russian appeared to have turned the corner on clay, having won his first title on that surface earlier this month at the Italian Open in Rome.
But he found himself on the defense in many of the rallies on Tuesday against an opponent who used his forehand to devastating effect for much of the contest.
The players traded service breaks in the first set before the opener was decided in a tiebreaker, which Seyboth Wild won when Medvedev dumped a backhand in the net.
The second set then appeared to be a virtual repeat of the first, but the Brazilian squandered two set points in the tiebreaker and then badly misplayed a volley to allow Medvedev to draw level.
Medvedev was on his heels for much of the first two sets, with Seyboth Wild fearlessly hitting for the corners and striking 38 winners to the Russian’s 17.
But Medvedev appeared to turn things around in the third set, taking command of the match with his typically impenetrable counterpunching and holding his opponent to just seven winners in eight games.
Seyboth Wild, however, refused to go quietly, blasting a backhand return winner on break point in the sixth game of the fourth set to take a 4-2 lead and forcing a final set when a Medvedev backhand sailed over the baseline.
The deciding fifth set was a ragged affair that featured five service breaks, but the Brazilian managed to overcome his nerves and finish off the match with a perfectly struck forehand down-the-line winner on match point.
“I have watched Daniil play for my entire junior career, up until today. Playing on this court against this kind of player and beating him is a dream come true,” Seyboth Wild, who struck 69 winners to Medvedev’s 45 for the entire contest, said afterward.
Medvedev, meanwhile, said after losing before the quarterfinals in his fourth straight Grand Slam tournament that he will take more positives than negatives from Tuesday’s loss.
“For sure I’m really disappointed. I’m going to be (for) one week thinking about this match, but for the moment I don’t see anything wrong I did,” he told reporters. “I mean, double faults, the wind was crazy today, so it was not easy.”
In other first-round results Tuesday, three other top contenders in the bottom half of the men’s singles draw – sixth-seeded Dane Holger Rune, fourth-seeded Norwegian Casper Ruud and 22nd-seeded German Alexander Zverev – all advanced in relatively routine fashion.
Rune dropped one set before defeating American Christopher Eubanks 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-2, while Ruud cruised past Swedish qualifier Elias Ymer 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 and Zverev pulled away from South Africa’s Lloyd Harris 7-6 (8-6), 7-6 (7-0), 6-1.
In Tuesday’s night match, ATP Tour veteran and crowd favorite Gael Monfils of France overcame Argentina’s Sebastian Baez 3-6, 6-3, 7-5, 1-6, 7-5.
In women’s action, Polish world No. 1 and defending champion Iga Swiatek started slowly but dominated over the last set and a half to defeat Spaniard Cristina Bucsa 6-4, 6-0.
Last year’s runner-up, American Coco Gauff, rallied from a set down to defeat Spaniard Rebeka Masarova 3-6, 6-1, 6-2 and reigning Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan defeated 16-year-old Czech qualifier Brenda Fruhvirtova 6-4, 6-2. EFE