An inspired Richard Gasquet crashed the Daniil Medvedev comeback party at the Gonet Geneva Open on Tuesday.
The Frenchman produced a performance full of imagination and flair to outmanoeuvre the World No. 2 in a 6-2, 7-6(5) victory. Medvedev was playing his first match since Miami in March after undergoing a hernia procedure.
Former World No. 7 Gasquet maintained constant pressure on the Medvedev serve, breaking three times in a 90-minute win at the ATP 250 event. It is Gasquet’s first win over an opponent ranked in the Top 2 of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings since he defeated then-World No. 1 Roger Federer at the 2005 Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters.
Medvedev had beaten Gasquet in the pair’s previous tour-level meeting in the first round at the 2021 US Open, a win that kick-started the 26-year-old’s run to a maiden Grand Slam title. The Frenchman appeared dialled in from the start as he set about avenging that loss, striking his one-handed backhand cleanly throughout to surge to victory and a fourth quarter-final of the season.
Despite defeat, Medvedev will be pleased with his second-set showing after an understandably rusty start at the Tennis Club de Geneve. The 26-year-old began to show signs of the form that has earned him 13 tour-level crowns as he recovered from 1-3 to force a tie-break. The top seed found rhythm with his forehand and trademark booming serve, two key weapons he will hope can power him to a deep run at the upcoming Grand Slam at Roland Garros.
Like Medvedev, Gasquet is playing in Geneva for the first time this year, and the Frenchman had already shown he felt at home on the Swiss clay with a 6-3, 6-1 first-round win over John Millman. The 35-year-old certainly looked settled early against the top seed, combining cleverly placed drop shots with elegant ground strokes to capitalise on a slow start from Medvedev.
Gasquet won six games in a row from 2-2 in the opening set to take charge of the encounter and, despite Medvedev’s late rally to level the second set, it was the Frenchman who remained the more consistent into the tie-break. With the win, Gasquet levels his ATP Head2Head series with Medvedev at 2-2.
Gasquet’s quarter-final opponent in Switzerland will be Kamil Majchrzak, after the Pole brushed past qualifier Marco Cecchinato, 6-2, 6-3.
In the first-round action rounded out on Tuesday, Thanasi Kokkinakis earned his first win on clay in seven years in style with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Fabio Fognini. It was just the Australian’s 10th tour-level match on the red dirt and his first win on the surface for seven years after a string of injury-plagued seasons for the 26-year-old. That didn’t stop him easing past 2019 Monte Carlo champion Fognini on debut in Geneva, where his second-round opponent will be Federico Delbonis.
Another Australian notched an impressive first-round win over an experienced clay-courter, as qualifier Christopher O’Connell overcame Albert Ramos-Vinolas, 7-6(5), 6-4. The reward for World No. 124 O’Connell is a second-round meeting with fourth seed Reilly Opelka.
Joao Sousa’s Geneva campaign started strongly as the World No. 79 breezed past 2021 semi-finalist Pablo Andujar, 6-1, 6-4. Sousa has experienced a dip in form since clinching his fourth ATP Tour title in Pune in February, but the Portuguese has done well in Geneva before, reaching the final in 2015. His next opponent in Switzerland will be Nikoloz Basilashvili. The fifth seed advanced after his opponent Facundo Bagnis retired from the pair’s first-round clash with Basilashvili leading 6-4.