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International

Top-Ranked Medvedev Set to Defend Title in Montreal

MONTREAL — Top-ranked and defending champion Daniil Medvedev wasn’t bothered by the frustrating delays due to rain Monday at the National Bank Open.

It’s one of the perks of his top ranking in men’s singles. Medvedev received a first-round bye as a top seed and likely won’t play his opening match until Wednesday.

“I will have two good days of practice and after I’ll start the tournament,” he said. “Of course, I’m very hungry for victories.”

While many of his ATP Tour peers were stuck waiting to see when the rain would let up, the confident Russian star was able to relax knowing he only had to tinker with his training schedule.

Medvedev held court with reporters during a 15-minute availability before continuing preparations for his title defense.

He enters the competition on a roll after winning in Mexico over the weekend. Medvedev didn’t lose a set at the tournament en route to claiming his 14th career ATP-level crown.

Denis Shapovalov, of Canada, lunges for the ball during his first-round match against Alex de Minaur, of Australia, at the National Bank Open tennis tournament in Montreal, Monday, Aug. 8, 2022. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press via AP)

“Feeling 100% physically (and I’m) mentally ready,” Medvedev said. “Really happy with Los Cabos for sure with the title. Looking forward to here, trying to get some good matches.”

Medvedev, who competes under a neutral flag, could face Australia’s Nick Kyrgios in the second round. Kyrgios, who jumped 26 spots to No. 37 in this week’s rankings following a victory at the Citi Open, was scheduled to open against Argentina’s Sebastian Baez.

World No. 9 Felix Auger-Aliassime of Montreal is one of many young stars who are seeded for the $6.53 million tournament. Others include Spain’s Carlos Alcaraz, Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece, Norway’s Casper Ruud and Italy’s Jannik Sinner.

Rafael Nadal withdrew on the eve of the tournament due to an abdominal injury. The rest of the so-called Big Three — Roger Federer (knee) and Novak Djokovic (unvaccinated) — were also absent.

“It doesn’t change much if they’re here or not because my goal is to win the tournament,” Medvedev said. “So no matter who I play … if it’s going to be a qualifier or wild card, lucky loser, second seed, I just want to win the match.”

Finland’s Emil Ruusuvuori defeated Switzerland’s Stan Wawrinka 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 in a match that began four hours after its originally scheduled start time Monday.

In other early matches, American Jenson Brooksby beat Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan 6-2, 6-3 and Russia’s Karen Khachanov topped Argentina’s Francisco Cerundolo 7-6 (4), 5-7, 6-3. Alex Molcan of Slovakia defeated American Mackenzie McDonald 7-6 (1), 6-4.

Rain returned later Monday and forced the suspension of all evening matches.

Australia’s Alex de Minaur had a 7-5, 6-6 lead on Canada’s Denis Shapovalov when the rain began They had split the first six points of the tiebreaker.

Auger-Aliassime has a first-round bye as the No. 6 seed and likely won’t play his opening match until Wednesday. Pospisil was slated to play his opening doubles match with Sinner on Monday, but it was rescheduled.

The singles field includes 41 of the top 44 players in the men’s rankings.

Robert Bedard was the last Canadian to win this tournament, taking the 1958 title in Vancouver.

 

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