Daniil Medvedev has marked his first match as World No.1 with a brutal straight-sets victory over Tomas Machac at Indian Wells.
In his first match since overtaking Novak Djokovic at the top of the world rankings, the Russian star was way too good for Machac on Saturday - winning 6-3 6-2 in less than an hour.
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Medvedev won 80 per cent of his first-serve points and saved the lone break point he faced.
Earlier this week, Medvedev received a trophy commemorating his ascension to the top of ATP Tour rankings.
He displaced 20-time grand slam champion Djokovic, who wasn't allowed entry into the United States because he's not vaccinated against Covid-19.
Medvedev has to reach the quarter-finals in California to stay in the top spot.
"If I'm going to lose it because I'm either going to play a bad match or my opponent is going to play an amazing one, there is the next tournament in Miami," he said.
"That's how tennis is, every week is a new story. Right now it's Indian Wells week and I want to make it a good story."
Medvedev is among players from Russia and Belarus competing at Indian Wells without their national flags, symbols or anthems as a result of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
The decision to eliminate their national identity was made by the International Tennis Federation and both tours.
"It's definitely not for me to decide," Medvedev said. "I follow the rules. I want to play my favourite sport."
Rafa Nadal wins after incredible fightback
Rafael Nadal didn't have it as easy as Medvedev in starting his pursuit of a fourth title at Indian Wells.
Nadal got pushed to the limit by practice partner Sebastian Korda before winning 6-2 1-6 7-6 (7-3), extending his unbeaten start to 2022 to 16-0.
The Spaniard won the Australian Open in January for his record 21st major championship, breaking a tie with Roger Federer and Djokovic.
He also won titles in Melbourne and in Mexico during the best start to a year in his career.
Nadal trailed 5-2 in the third set on Saturday before winning four straight games with two breaks of Korda to take a 6-5 lead.
Korda held at 6-all to force a tiebreaker and then led 3-2, berfore Nadal reeled off five straight points to close out the marathon match.
“I started to play a little bit more cross-court with my forehand and with having a little bit more of calm,” Nadal said after the match.
“He made a couple mistakes and I was able to save myself.”
Before the match, Nadal withdrew from the Miami Open - the second half of the 'Sunshine Double' which begins March 21.
He is managing a chronic condition in his left foot that saw him miss the majority of the second half of 2021.
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