MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Fourth seed Daniil Medvedev of Russia held his nerve in a war of attrition against American Frances Tiafoe to register a 6-3 4-6 6-4 6-2 victory in the first round of the Australian Open on Tuesday.

The U.S. Open finalist broke Tiafoe’s serve three times to breeze through the opening set, but the American came roaring back to level the match in the second, displaying a never-say-die attitude in front of an appreciative Rod Laver Arena crowd.

World number 50 Tiafoe reached the quarter-final in Melbourne in 2019 and matched his higher-ranked opponent in the duels both from the baseline and at the net, but it was ultimately not enough against the Russian.

Medvedev showed why he is seen by John McEnroe as the best bet to break the stranglehold of the ‘Big Three’ in men’s tennis at a Grand Slam, and he will play either German Dominik Koepfer or Spanish qualifier Pedro Martinez in the second round.

(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly; editing by xx)

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