World number two Daniil Medvedev, fresh from his triumph in the Italian Open, arrived in Paris hoping to forge a newfound relationship with clay courts. However, his aspirations were short-lived. Returning to Roland Garros, where he had reached the fourth round in the past two years and even made the quarterfinals in 2021, the Russian tennis player suffered a surprising first-round exit at the French Open 2023. He was defeated by Brazil’s Thiago Seyboth Wild, ranked 172 in the world, in a thrilling five-set match that ended 6-7, 7-6, 6-2, 3-6, 4-6 on Tuesday.
This upset unfolded on the hallowed grounds of Philippe Chatrier, as the qualifier authored the most significant victory of his career. Despite it being his first appearance in the main draw in Paris, the 23-year-old displayed remarkable composure, having previously failed to progress past the qualifiers in three consecutive years. Seyboth Wild expressed his elation, stating, “I have watched Daniil play throughout my junior career, up until today. Playing on this court against this calibre of player and defeating him is a dream come true. Walking onto the court, my main objective was to approach the net as often as possible and utilize my forehand against his, and it worked brilliantly.”
Prior to his arrival in Paris, Seyboth Wild had claimed two titles at the Challenger level this year. In his maiden tour-level match of the season, he demonstrated resilience, rebounding from squandering two set points in the second-set tiebreak. The Brazilian unleashed a flurry of 69 winners, elevating his performance towards the end of the match and sealing a memorable victory.
Reflecting on his accomplishment, Seyboth Wild acknowledged the challenges he faced, sharing, “It was quite arduous. I started experiencing cramps during the second set. Nevertheless, I gave it my all and endeavoured to showcase my best tennis, which ultimately paid off. I am genuinely delighted with my performance.”
In the second round, Seyboth Wild will face either Frenchman Quentin Halys or Guido Pella. As for Medvedev, who had compiled an impressive 10-3 record on clay this season, including his triumph in Rome, his defeat shattered his hopes of clinching the title in Paris and securing his second major championship following his victory at the 2021 US Open. Moreover, the loss dashed his chances of claiming the world number one ranking, leaving the battle for the coveted position now between Carlos Alcaraz, Novak Djokovic, and Stefanos Tsitsipas.
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