Medvedev beaten in Hamburg after run to U.S. Open semifinals

Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports
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HAMBURG, Germany — Daniil Medvedev lost his first match since reaching the U.S. Open semifinals as he was beaten 6-4, 6-3 Tuesday by unseeded French player Ugo Humbert in the first round of the Hamburg European Open.

The top-seeded Medvedev was a break up at 4-3 in the first set but was broken twice in a row by Humbert, who is ranked 36 places below the Russian at 41st.

This was Medvedev’s only clay-court warm-up ahead of the French Open. He hadn’t played on clay for 16 months since a first-round defeat at last year’s French Open and played only at hard-court tournaments in the last 14 months. Humbert next faces qualifier Jiri Vesely.

Medvedev lost to eventual winner Dominic Thiem in the semifinals of the U.S. Open.

Third-seeded Gael Monfils was also eliminated in the first round, losing 6-4, 6-3 to 103rd-ranked Yannick Hanfmann.

Hanfmann needed just 1 hour, 13 minutes to wrap up the win and the German will next face Cristian Garin, who swept past Kei Nishikori 6-0, 6-3.

Garin is bidding to win his third trophy on clay this year.

Fourth-seeded Roberto Bautista-Agut won 6-4, 6-3 against two-time defending champion Nikoloz Basilashvili to set up a second-round meeting with Dominik Koepfer.

The 32-year-old Bautista Agut, who became a father for the first time last week, saved two of the four break points he faced and converted four of his nine opportunities to win in 1 hour, 25 minutes.

The Spaniard next faces Dominik Koepfer of Germany for a place in the quarterfinals. Koepfer defeated Yoshihito Nishioka 7-6 (0), 4-6, 6-1.

Fabio Fognini built up momentum after a slow start to oust Philipp Kohlschreiber 4-6, 6-1, 7-5. The sixth-seeded Italian will play either Casper Ruud or Benoit Paire in the second round.

Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime defeated Lorenzo Sonego of Italy 6-2, 7-6 (2) and will next play Alexander Bublik, who beat Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-2, 7-6 (5).

Novak Djokovic to start 2023 in Adelaide ahead of Australian Open

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MELBOURNE, Australia – Novak Djokovic will open his 2023 campaign in Adelaide as he prepares for a shot at a 10th Australian Open crown a year after having his visa revoked on the eve of his title defense.

The 21-time major winner has been granted a visa by the Australian government and has been listed to play at the Adelaide International, which starts Jan. 1.

Serbia isn’t contesting the inaugural United Cup team competition, leaving Djokovic free to play regular warmup tournaments head of the Jan. 16-29 Australian Open.

He’ll be joined in the men’s draw at Adelaide by Russians Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev, Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada and Andy Murray.

Ons Jabeur, Aryna Sabalenka will headline the women’s draw.

Immigration Minister Andrew Giles last month confirmed Djokovic had been granted a visa to compete in Australia in January. The 35-year-old Serbian had been facing a possible three-year ban after being deported last January over his stance against COVID-19 vaccination.

Djokovic has won the Australian Open a record nine times, including the last three times he played. Rafael Nadal won this year’s title in Djokovic’s absence.

Djokovic was not vaccinated against COVID-19 when he arrived in Melbourne ahead of the 2022 tournament, but Australia has since lifted strict rules for unvaccinated travelers.

Karolina Pliskova reuniting with Sascha Bajin

Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports
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Two-time Grand Slam finalist Karolina Pliskova is reuniting with coach Sascha Bajin ahead of the 2023 season.

Pliskova posted on her website and her Twitter account about the move, which comes about six months after she and Bajin stopped working together. The pair originally teamed up in November 2020.

While Bajin was her coach, Pliskova reached the final at Wimbledon in 2021 before losing to champion Ash Barty. Pliskova also was the runner-up at the 2016 U.S. Open, where she defeated Serena Williams in the semifinals before being beat by Angelique Kerber for the trophy.

After splitting from Bajin in July, Pliskova was coached by Leos Friedl. Their results together included a quarterfinal run at the U.S. Open.

Bajin has worked as a coach or hitting partner with several top tennis players, including Grand Slam title winners Williams, Naomi Osaka, Victoria Azarenka and Caroline Wozniacki.

“Thank you for having me back,” Bajin wrote on Twitter. “Let’s go get it.”

Pliskova is a 30-year-old from the Czech Republic who reached No. 1 in the WTA rankings in 2017 and finished this season at No. 31 after going 21-21 with no titles.

Her team also includes fitness specialist Jez Green and physiotherapist Martin Salvador.

Next year’s first Grand Slam tournament, the Australian Open, begins Jan. 16.