Serbia’s Dusan Lajovic barely put a foot wrong on Wednesday in a 7-6(4), 6-4 victory over top-seeded Russian Daniil Medvedev in one hour and 35 minutes at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament.
Lajovic, who hit 15 winners to set up a second-round clash against Borna Coric, improves to a 2-1 record in his ATP Head2Head series against Medvedev, who could have risen to a career-high No. 2 in the FedEx ATP Rankings with a run to the Rotterdam final.
“I think I was very focused the whole match and not influenced by his good serves and shots,” said Lajovic, who is now 2-7 lifetime against top seeds at ATP Tour events. “I knew if I stayed in the match, I’d get my opportunities and change the rhythm.”
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Medvedev led by a break in the first set, but Lajovic broke back for 3-3 and stepped up in the tie-break, which ended with a double fault from the World No. 3. Lajovic recovered from 15/40 at 1-2 in the second set and secured a 5-4 advantage after another double fault from Medvedev.
Medvedev drops to a 10-2 record on the 2021 season, which includes helping Russia capture the ATP Cup (d. Italy) and a run to the Australian Open final (l. to Djokovic). The 25-year-old has now won 20 of his past 22 matches stretching back to November 2020.
Lajovic is 5-20 against Top 10 opponents. His last Top 10 victory came over then No. 5-ranked Dominic Thiem en route to the 2019 Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters final.
Sixth-seeded Belgian David Goffin recorded his fourth straight win over Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany 6-4, 6-0 in 62 minutes. He will now play France’s Jeremy Chardy in the second round.
“It was a good match with an early break,” said Goffin. “I returned really well and I was aggressive after returning serve. I started with a lot of confidence in the second set as I am playing and moving well.”
Goffin, who lifted the fifth ATP Tour trophy of his career on Sunday at the Open Sud de France in Montpellier (d. Bautista Agut), has now won six matches in a row.
Kei Nishikori earned his second Top 30 win of the week to take the first spot in the quarter-finals. The Japanese, who defeated seventh seed Felix Auger-Aliassime in the first round, broke serve on four occasions to beat Alex de Minaur 6-3, 2-6, 7-5.
“I am happy to be in the quarter-finals at this tough tournament,” said Nishikori. “I just need to keep going and be ready for the next match.”
The former World No. 4 improved to 5-1 in Rotterdam with his first ATP Head2Head victory against De Minaur (tied at 1-1). Nishikori will attempt to reach his second semi-final in Rotterdam (2019) when he faces Lajovic or Coric in the last eight.