Australian Open favourite Daniil Medvedev begins title hunt

Shayne HopeAAP
US Open champion Daniil Medvedev will take on Henri Laaksonen in the Australian Open first round.
Camera IconUS Open champion Daniil Medvedev will take on Henri Laaksonen in the Australian Open first round. Credit: AAP

Daniil Medvedev begins his first grand slam tournament as title favourite when he takes centre stage on Tuesday opposed to Henri Laaksonen in the Australian Open first round.

In a rare major tournament without a top seed following Novak Djokovic’s messy visa cancellation saga, second seed Medvedev has defaulted into favouritism at Melbourne Park.

The Russian world No.2 is also the most recent men’s slam winner, having beaten Djokovic in last September’s US Open final to claim his first major crown.

Medvedev is expected to breeze past Switzerland’s world No.92 Laaksonen and enters the tournament in a positive frame of mind.

“In general, the US Open title gave me a lot of confidence, I want to say, in my life and in my tennis life as well,” Medvedev said.

“I’m feeling much more confident than last year in terms of knowing my game (and) what I’m capable of.”

Medvedev will feature on Rod Laver Arena ahead of women’s second seed Aryna Sabalenka, who takes on Australian underdog Storm Sanders.

Fellow locals Alex de Minaur and Nick Kyrgios are also in action on day two of the year’s first slam, taking on Italy’s Lorenzo Musetti and British qualifier Liam Broady respectively.

Sam Stosur begins her final Open against the United States’ Robin Anderson.

Like Medvedev, men’s fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas is looking to cash in on the absence of nine-times Open champion Djokovic and injured Swiss master Roger Federer.

The Greek fan favourite meets Sweden’s Mikael Ymer in the first round.

Tsitsipas has reached the Open semi-finals in two of the past three years and is seeking a breakthrough major title after losing last year’s French Open final to Djokovic.

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