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Daniil Medvedev had more than one challenge on his return to action Tuesday at the Gonet Geneva Open. Not only did the World No. 2 miss a month-and-a-half due to a procedure for a small hernia, but he had to return on his least-favourite surface: clay.

“It’s tough. I don’t play my best tennis on clay courts. I know that I am capable of making some good results as I did in the past. But for this, I kind of need to be in the zone, which I was not today,” Medvedev said following his straight-sets loss against Richard Gasquet in the second round. “When I’m not in the zone on hard courts, sometimes during the tournament, during the match, I can try to turn it around and sometimes it doesn’t happen.

“On clay [it is] much tougher and usually from what I remember most of the matches — not all of them, but most of them — I’m losing because it’s tough for me to turn something around unless everything goes well straightaway and that’s what happened today.”

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Credit goes to former World No. 7 Gasquet, who showed some of his best tennis in his 6-2, 7-6(5) victory. The Frenchman whipped his one-handed backhand around the court and showed impressive speed for a 35-year-old to retrieve drop shots.

Despite that, Medvedev was in with a chance in the second set deep in the tie-break. But he relinquished his opportunity with a double fault on match point. The top seed hit seven double faults in his loss.

“[I made] a lot of errors, a lot of double faults. Just was not playing good enough to win. Had maybe some small bright moments in the second set where I maybe could have won the second set,” Medvedev said. “But again because I don’t feel as confident on clay as on the other surfaces, that’s why I lost 7/5 in the tie-break, finishing with a double fault.

“[It is] disappointing, but I’ve had tougher losses in my career and I just need to try to do better next time.”

The good news is that Medvedev was pleased with how his body felt after his first match for nearly two months. Now the 26-year-old will continue working in hopes of finding better form next week at Roland Garros, the season’s second major. Last year, he advanced to the quarter-finals on the Parisian clay.

“Physically I felt not bad today. I think more days of practice and [I] should be ready for Roland Garros because physically, even right now, my body feels good. Let’s see tomorrow morning, because I haven’t played [a tournament] for one month and a half, maybe two months,” Medvedev said. “Hopefully tomorrow morning it’s going to be good also.

“[I will] have some days of practice before Roland Garros so I’m going to try to work physically and also tennis-wise. Hopefully I can try to find the game I had there last year, which is not going to be easy.”


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