Daniil Medvedev’s Geneva Open bid ended prematurely as he was beaten 6-2 7-6 by Richard Gasquet on Tuesday.
Medvedev, who underwent hernia surgery last month and made his return after a six-week absence, double-faulted to hand Gasquet the win on his first match point. It was his seventh of the match.
The Russian admitted he was usually a slow starter on clay, and it continued to show as Gasquet - who favoured the terrain - produced a composed first set.
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Medvedev’s troubles continued into the second set, where he had three double-faults when his serve was broken, before damaging his racket in the following game.
The 26-year-old managed to get on level terms at 3-3 and clinched the next game at love with a second-service ace, and he twice recovered from being a mini-break down but his serve let him down again in the tie-breaker.
Reflecting on the contest, Medvedev admitted he struggled on clay courts.
"I don't play my best tennis on clay courts. I know that I'm capable of making some good results, as I did in the past. But for this I kind of need to be in the zone," Medvedev said.
"I don't feel as confident on clay as on other surfaces, that's why I lost 7/5 in the tie-break finishing with a double fault. It's disappointing but I've had tougher losses in my career.
Physically I felt not bad. With more days of practice I should be ready for Roland-Garros."
Since the conclusion of the match, Medvedev has ruled himself out as a title contender at next week's French Open.
Medvedev admitted it was hard to look beyond Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic as favourites to win the second Grand Slam of the year, and instead was better off sharpening up his game in the remaining days before Paris.
Speaking on whether his six-week absence has an impact on tonight’s result, Medvedev admitted he has the same problems on clay courts “every time, every year”, but is confident ahead of the French Open, where he reached the quarter-finals.
"Clay for my body is the most dangerous surface. For me it's clay courts -- every time, every year I have some problems where I cannot be 100 percent," he said.
"I'm not a favourite for Roland-Garros but I do want to play well. If I can find my level again, I can be dangerous."
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