Russian Daniil Medvedev fought off the spirited efforts of British world number 391 Arthur Fery with a 7-5, 6-4, 6-3 victory over the 20-year-old wildcard on Wednesday as he starts his latest attempt to make a serious challenge at Wimbledon.
Medvedev, 27, has only once reached the fourth round, though he missed last year’s tournament due to the ban on Russian players.
The third seed looked rusty for a while as Fery, making his Tour level debut, knocked him out of his stride with a sustained serve and volley approach. But a rain break at 5-5 in the first set changed the dynamic and Medvedev was generally in control from then on.
“I was pretty nervous, I didn’t get to play yesterday so really happy to be back,” Medvedev said in a courtside interview.
“Thank you for the nice welcome, especially against Arthur, a British guy. It was amazing as I didn’t know what reception I would get and it was unbelievable. I’m not loved everywhere for who I am, sometimes I get crazy on the court, but I am going to be loving my time here and I hope I prolong it.”
On paper, it looked like the biggest mismatch of the championships.
Third seed Medvedev was 2021 U.S. Open champion, world number one last year and on a hot streak after winning five tournaments in 2023. Up against him Fery, who turns 21 next week, plays on the American college circuit, was a wildcard entry.
However, the son of French parents, including a mother who played at Roland Garros, came out swinging for winners on just about every shot in a match that ludicrously started 40 minutes late while organisers waited to open the roof.
Fery won his first two service games to love, and though broken to trail 3-2, hit back immediately to raise a huge roar from the Court One crowd.
Getting to the net as often as he could and volleying with confidence, he maybe starting to dream at 5-5 when rain forced the players off. When they returned 20 minutes later Fery struggled to rediscover his intensity as Medvedev immediately broke and served out the set.
Medvedev, whose lanky, ungainly 6ft 6ins (198cm) frame seems at odds with the sublime ground strokes he plays, started to make his consistency pay, breaking for a 3-2 lead. Fery briefly got the crowd going when he broke straight back to love, only to lose his own serve to allow the Russian to serve out.
Fery stuck to his guns, charging the net at every opportunity, and though he got a foothold in most Medvedev service games, the Russian was too often able to serve his way out of trouble.
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