Daniil Medvedev is through to the second round of the Australian Open after producing a comfortable 6-1 6-4 7-6(3) win over Henri Laaksonen on Rod Laver Arena.
Last year's Australian Open finalist will fancy his chances of winning the tournament this year with world number one Novak Djokovic not competing in Melbourne and he got his 2022 campaign off to the perfect start with an easy win over the world No 91 in under two hours.
Medvedev has made it no secret that he is looking to win this year's Australian Open.
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"I like pressure but last year I started well here in Australia in the ATP Cup and I managed to be in the final here," he said on court afterwards.
"The tournaments in Australia are always really important for me. I like to play in Australia on hard courts. I want to do better here than I did last year but it's not going to easy."
When asked in the Cube whether he thinks he is the favourite, he said: "I always say whoever is the highest ranked is the favourite so this time I will go with Rafa because he has 20 Grand Slams."
Medvedev surprisingly dropped his opening service game of the match, but any sign of early nerves subsided as he reeled off the next six games to wrap up the set.
Laaksonen, playing in his third Australian Open main draw, put up a greater fight in the second, but the US Open champion sealed an all-important break at 2-2 before extending his lead in a 40-minute set.
Into the third set and the two players were locked on serve until eventually Medvedev figured his Swiss opponent out in the tie-break by winning the final four points.
Speaking in the Cube, Eurosport's Mats Wilander believes Medvedev is the favourite to win the tournament.
"He's added so much," he said. "He used to be so defensive and passive in his waiting.
"Now he actually takes the ball early at times and I think he's the best player in the world now that Novak is not here. He said Rafa but I think Daniil is the heavy favourite here."
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