The 26-year-old, who only had outside chances at the tournament of the eight best tennis professionals of the year, took a step towards the semi-finals in front of 12,000 spectators in the sold-out Pala Alpitour. Zverev will face the Russians Daniil Medvedev and Andrej Rublew in the preliminary round; the top two in the group will make it to the knockout phase.
“I’m very happy that I was able to turn the game around. It’s always nice to beat the best players in the world. And he’s one of them,” said Zverev. He quickly dealt with the moment of shock in the third set when he slipped: “I didn’t twist my ankle, I just slipped. It was a nerve pain for a while. But I don’t think and hope that something broke. Of course you can’t help it Compare Paris.” Especially since this time it was the left foot.
Zverev doesn’t take advantage of opportunities in the first set
Zverev started well and repeatedly surprised the Spanish Wimbledon winner with his forehand topspin. The reward: an early break to make it 2-1. But Alcaraz fought his way back into the match and took Zverev’s serve to make it 3-3.
The Hamburger almost managed the perfect answer, but the Hamburger missed four break points in the seventh game. That was symptomatic: Alcaraz, who was by no means at his best, offered Zverev a lot, but Germany’s number one didn’t take advantage of the chances. In the tiebreak, the second in the world rankings ultimately had better nerves.
Strong serve game from Zverev
As in the first set, Zverev got another early break and took a 3-0 lead in the second round. This time he made better use of Alcaraz’s mistakes. Because he also served extremely well, the Hamburg native deservedly took the second set – with an ace.
The momentum was now on Zverev’s side. Alcaraz seemed inhibited and kept looking desperately at his coach Juan Carlos Ferrero in the stands. Above all, the world number two’s otherwise dangerous stop balls didn’t come at all this time. Zverev took advantage of this and took the lead to 3-2 with a break.
The German then served his serve to make it 4-2 – and survived the moment of shock when he slipped and memories of his serious foot injury from last year came back.
Match point after two and a half hours
Alcaraz fought back against the defeat and stuck with it, but Zverev served at 5:4 – and was able to rely on his strong serves (despite a double fault and a break ball). After a little more than two and a half hours, he converted his first match point to victory – Alcaraz hit the return of serve into the net.
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