Daniil Medvedev returns the ball to Alexander Shevchenko of Kazakhstan...

Daniil Medvedev returns the ball to Alexander Shevchenko of Kazakhstan during a match of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024. Credit: AP/Kamran Jebreili

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Daniil Medvedev opened his title defense at the Dubai Championships on Tuesday by beating Alexander Shevchenko 6-3, 7-5 in his first match since losing the Australian Open final to Jannik Sinner.

The top-seeded Medvedev had withdrawn from tournaments in Doha and Rotterdam because of fatigue and a right foot problem following his loss to Sinner at Melbourne Park.

Trailing 5-3 in the second set, Medvedev won four straight games to clinch the win. He will face Lorenzo Sonego in the second round of the hard-court tournament.

“In general, to be honest, (I'm) happy with my level because it's not easy to come back after an injury,” the fourth-ranked Medvedev said in his on-court interview.

Medvedev said he “didn’t feel any pain” in defeating the 47th-ranked Shevchenko. After losing to Sinner, Medvedev had taken 10 days off and “started feeling pain here and there” when he returned to practice.

Among other first-round matches Tuesday, fourth-seeded Karen Khachanov beat Luca Van Assche 6-2, 6-3; fifth-seeded Ugo Humbert outlasted Gael Monfils 4-6, 6-3, 6-3; and eighth-seeded Alejandro Davidovich Fokina defeated Fabian Marozsan 6-3, 4-6, 6-1.

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