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Medvedev beats Paire, moves into second round in Acapulco

Nitto ATP World Tour Finals - Day Seven

TURIN, ITALY - NOVEMBER 20: Daniil Medvedev of Russia plays a shot during the Men’s Single’s semi-final match between Daniil Medvedev of Russia and Casper Ruud of Norway on Day Seven of the Nitto ATP World Tour Finals at Pala Alpitour on November 20, 2021 in Turin, Italy. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images) (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

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ACAPULCO, Mexico - Daniil Medvedev continued his pursuit of the No. 1 ranking with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Benoit Paire to move the second round at the Mexican Open.

The 26-year-old Russian can overtake Novak Djokovic and move into top spot if he wins the title here.

Medvedev, who won the 2021 U.S. Open and was a runner-up last month at the Australian Open, is playing in Mexico for the first time.

“It’s not easy to come back after some rest and some time off competition,” said Medvedev, who rallied from a break down in the second set for victory. “I managed to fight until the end against a very tough opponent and I’m happy that I managed to win.”

He’ll play either Alex Hernandez or Pablo Andujar in the next round.

If he wins this tournament, or if he reaches the Acapulco final and Djokovic does not win at Dubai, Medvedev will become the first player other than Djokovic, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal or Andy Murray to hold the top spot since 2004.

He said he’s thinking about getting to the top spot but acknowledged that it might not happen next week.

“I know that in the next three tournaments it can be a possibility and that’s why I’m going to try to do this, because it’s not a dream anymore, it’s a goal,” he said. “And I will try to play well in the next three tournaments to achieve it.”

In other matches Tuesday, Tommy Paul advanced when fifth-seeded Matteo Berrettini retired from their match in the second set because of an abdominal injury, and Yoshihito Nishioka beat Feliciano Lopez 2-6, 6-0, 6-4.

Berrettini, who reached the semifinals in the Australian Open, won the first set 6-4 but was down 5-1 in the second when he withdrew.

Paul will play Dusan Lajovic in the second round.

The Mexican Open, a 500 tournament, is played on the hard courts of the GNP Arena in Acapulco, a popular tourist destination south of Mexico City.