2020 Australian Open: Danill Medvedev slips past Frances Tiafoe in four high-quality sets
Photo: Hannah McKay/Reuters

Fourth seed Daniil Medvedev has made a winning start to his Australian Open campaign with a 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 first round victory over Frances Tiafoe at Rod Laver Arena.

The two men showcased their immense skills in a match that ultimately went to the Russian as he pulled away in the fourth set after taking two of the first three.

Russian marches on, claims well-earned victory

Medvedev was quick out of the blocks, his forehand setting up break point and that same wing firing off a winner to gain the early advantage. An ace on game point consolidated the Russian's lead to 2-0.

A second break was achieved as the fourth seed received a slice of good fortune, his backhand clipping the tape and dribbling over on Tiafoe's side for a 4-1 advantage. 

Although the American would retrieve one of the breaks back and pull to within 4-3, it was Medvedev's net play that got the job done. A spectacular backhand volley after a series of exchanges made it 5-3 and a backhand at Tiafoe's feet closed out the set.

Medvedev continued his fine form from mid-2019 into the start of this year/Photo: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images
Medvedev continued his fine form from mid-2019 into the start of this year/Photo: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

The world  number 50 pushed Medvedev to deuce in the third game, but again, the Russian ventures forward to rescue the situation. He wasn't as fortunate next time as Tiafoe drilled a forehand winner down the line on break point to give the American a 3-2 lead.

Tiafoe was broken to love straightaway as he misfired on a forehand wide to restore the set to parity. The cat-and-mouse game continued, Medvedev taking a 4-3 lead after a lunging forehand volley that just fell on Tiafoe's side.

The American stepped up his aggression, coming forward to set up triple break point and a drive backhand forced a wild error from the Russian to give Tiafoe a 5-4 lead. He claimed the set and evened the match after Medvedev dumped a backhand meekly into the net.

A rasping forehand by the Russian set up break point in the opening game of the third set and he duly took it after Tiafoe could only slice a backhand long. Saving a break point with big serving, the fourth seed maintained his lead.

Tiafoe stormed back, a magical forehand volley winner on break point and a following hold evening the set at 3-3. The set moved along to the 10th game, where the American served to stay in the set, but facing triple break point, he watched helplessly as Medvedev flicked a backhand volley over for a two sets to one lead.

The loss of the third set seemed to carry over to the start of the fourth, a whipping forehand by Medvedev not dealt with by the American. Tiafoe was able to break right back with a forehand winner. The world number 50 was unable to hold the momentum he gained and he was broken twice more as Medvedev closed out a most entertaining affair.