Medvedev loses to Gasquet in Geneva in return from injury

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GENEVA — Second-ranked Daniil Medvedev lost his comeback match after a six-week injury layoff, beaten 6-2, 7-6 (5) by Richard Gasquet in the second round at the Geneva Open.

Medvedev, who underwent hernia surgery last month, cautioned Sunday he was often a slow starter on clay courts. So it proved in his first match on the surface this season, in the last tournament before the French Open.

Medvedev double-faulted for the seventh time on Gasquet’s first match point, as the Frenchman ended a 36-match losing streak against opponents ranked No. 1 or 2 after beating Roger Federer 17 years ago at Monte Carlo.

“It’s tough. I don’t play my best tennis on clay courts,” Medvedev said. “I kind of need to be in the zone, which I was not today.”

Unlike Medvedev, Gasquet has won titles on clay in his career and the 35-year-old Frenchman frustrated his top-seeded Russian opponent in an assured first set.

Medvedev had three double-faults when his serve was broken to open the second set, and he broke a racket on the court in the next game. He leveled at 3-3 and clinched the next game at love with a second-service ace.

In the tiebreaker, Medvedev twice recovered from being a mini-break down before his serve faltered again.

“I think more days of practice and (I) should be ready for Roland Garros because physically, even right now, my body feels good,” he said.

Gasquet’s will face Kamil Majchrzak in the quarterfinals after the Polish player beat qualifier Marco Cecchinato 6-2, 6-3. Cecchinato had beaten Dominic Thiem, the two-time French Open runner-up, on Monday.

In a first-round match, fifth-seeded Nikoloz Basilashvili advanced when Facundo Bagnis retired after losing the first set.

Alcaraz loses to Goffin in 1st match as No. 1

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ASTANA, Kazakhstan — Carlos Alcaraz’s first match as the No. 1-ranked player ended with a straight-set loss to David Goffin at the Astana Open.

The 19-year-old Spaniard lost 7-5, 6-3 in his first tour match since winning the U.S. Open and capturing the No. 1 ranking.

“David was playing really, really well. To come back to competition is never easy,” Alcaraz said. “It’s really tough for me, for my confidence.”

Alcaraz came from 5-2 down to level the first set at 5-5, only to be broken again by his Belgian opponent.

“When you play against the World No. 1 on a big stage, big crowd, the fire inside gives you so much power to play your best tennis because you don’t have any choice,” Goffin said. “You have to fight and give your best and that was the case today.”

Second-seeded Daniil Medvedev and No. 3-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas both avoided similar upsets. Medvedev beat Albert Ramos-Vinolas of Spain 6-3, 6-1 and Tsitsipas ousted Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin 6-3. 6-4.

Kasatkina knocks out Raducanu at Agel Open

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OSTRAVA, Czech Republic — Fifth-seeded Daria Kasatkina defeated 2021 U.S. Open champion Emma Raducanu 7-5, 6-4 to advance to the second round of the Agel Open.

Kasatkina was playing her first match since losing in the first round of the U.S. Open and will next face Ekaterina Alexandrova.

Sixth-seeded Belinda Bencic of Switzerland rallied to eliminate former top-five player Eugenie Bouchard of Canada 6-7 (7), 6-1, while Aliaksandra Sasnovich upset eighth-seeded Jelena Ostapenko 6-2, 6-2.

American qualifiers Alycia Parks and Catherine McNally both advanced. Parks upset Czech Karolina Pliskova 6-0, 7-6 (3) and McNally eased past Anna Blinkova 6-1, 6-2 at the indoor hardcourt event in the Czech eastern city of Ostrava.