Daniil Medvedev suffered a shock defeat in his opening match of the season against France’s Ugo Humbert Sunday at the ATP Cup, upsetting his preparations for the Australian Open.
The US Open champion is leading a Russian team in Sydney depleted by injuries and Covid-19 as they look to defend the title won against Italy last year.
The Frenchman rallied from a set down to pull off a big upset 6-7 (5/7), 7-5, 7-6 (7/2) in a gruelling 2hr 55min as Medvedev, red-faced from the heat, ran out of steam.
“I had some opportunities in the first set, and I just tried to stay relaxed, stay focused on what I had to do and it was a great match.”
Ranked 167, he saved 15 of 19 break points to pull off a 2-6, 7-5, 6-3 win over France’s Arthur Rinderknech to set the stage for Medvedev, who could be the top seed at this month’s Australian Open if defending champion Novak Djokovic fails to show up.
The Russia-France tie went to a deciding doubles rubber.
They play each other in an evening tie with Berrettini facing Alex de Minaur.
In the other night match, Alexander Zverev’s Germany go up against a British team led by Cameron Norrie, who had a breakout 2021 season that saw him storm through the rankings to end at 12.
The 22-year-old is still struggling after testing positive for Covid-19 on his arrival in Sydney, then spending time in isolation.
Taylor Fritz then upset 11th-ranked Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-7 (6/8), 6-4, 6-4.