Tomas Berdych battles past Alexander Zverev to level the tie for the Czech Republic in the Davis Cup First Round - UBITENNIS
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Tomas Berdych battles past Alexander Zverev to level the tie for the Czech Republic in the Davis Cup First Round

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Tomas Berdych found it very tough going against Alexander Zverev, but managed to produce the goods when it mattered most to level the tie. (Image via Zimbio.com)

The second match of the Davis Cup First Round tie between Germany and the Czech Republic also went the distance of five sets. Following on from Philipp Kohlschreiber’s five-set defeat of Lukas Rosol, Tomas Berdych came back from two-sets-to-one down to defeat Alexander Zverev 7-6, 1-6, 4-6, 7-6, 6-4, in a match lasting more than four hours. 

Berdych had raced into an early lead, three love after breaking the Zverev serve in game two. Zverev would quickly regain the break, before the two again traded breaks en route to a opening set tie-break. Berdych took the first set, and the match appeared to be going to form for the former Wimbledon finalist and current Top Ten player.

Zverev had other ideas. The German took heart from the loss of the first set by such a close margin, breaking Berdych early. Berdych managed three aces but could not muster a single winner, with Zverev dropping just two points on serve. Berdych’s serve continued to falter, and Zverev quickly levelled the match. Zverev’s form continued into the third, earning a double-break to go four-one up on Berdych. At this point the Czech had won just two of the last twelve games, but Berdych did manage to regain one of the breaks, bringing the set back to four-three before both men held the rest of way through the set, Zverev now leading by two-sets-to-one.

The fourth set proved to be the tightest of the match, as it was the only set where both men held all their service games. Both men had opportunities to break, with Zverev earning four break points, and Berdych one. Berdych worked Zverev hard as the young German served to stay in the set at five-six, but a tiebreak beckoned. Berdych took the early lead, and led four-two at the change of ends before Zverev came back. Berdych earned the lead again, and this time did not relinquish it, taking the match to a decider.

In the early stages of the fifth set it appeared that Zverev might prove the victor, as he fought strongly early on, earning love-thirty in one game, only to be disappointed by Berdych. It was the Czech who managed to break midway through the set at four-three. Zverev did not give in, fighting to deuce against the Berdych serve but failed to break. He then held to deuce himself, earning one last chance to break back. Berdych denied him even the glimmer of an opportunity, as the Tour veteran held to love to the level the tie at one-all.

Berdych proved in this match that consistency is key, as he suffered in the second set, and parts of the third. Berdych’s level proved enough to edge Zverev in the three sets where he played some of his better tennis, whereas Zverev could not sustain the level of play that he produced in the second and much of the third.

Tomorrow will the doubles take place, with Dustin Brown and Philipp Petzschner set to take on Radek Stepanek and Jiri Vesely. Both Petzschner and Stapanek have doubled pedigree, whilst Dustin Brown prefers the serve-and-volley tactic. Jiri Vesely has a decent left-handed serve and is a former Junior Doubles Champion at Wimbledon.

 

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Jannik Sinner overcomes a first round scare against Tallon Griekspoor in Halle

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Jannik Sinner rallied past Tallon Griekspoor 6-7 (8-10) 6-3 6-2 for a maiden win as a number 1 player in his first grass-court match of the season at the Terra Wortmann Open in Halle. Sinner, the first Italian player to hold the number 1 spot in the ATP Ranking, has improved his 2024 record to 34 wins to 3 defeats. 

Sinner squandered a 5-1 lead in the tie-break and did not convert two set points at 6-4 and 6-5. 

Griekspoor converted his third set point to win a hard-fought tie-break 10-8. The Dutch player earned three break points at 2-2 in the second set. Sinner saved all three break points to hold serve and this helped him to turn around the match. Sinner broke serve in the sixth game to take a 4-2 lead with a diving forehand passing shot and won eight of the last nine service points to win the second set 6-3 forcing the match to the decider. 

Sinner broke in the third game of the third set and held serve at love for 3-1. The 2024 Australian player held serve with a lob for 4-2. 

Sinner earned his second break in the seventh game at love and closed out the win on his first match point with his 15th ace after 2 hours and 22 minutes. 

“It was for sure mentally tough. It was 5-1 up in the tie-break of the first set. This can happen especially on this surface. It can go very fast. I was good mentally. I was struggling in the second set, 0-40 down on my serve. If he makes that point, it is even more difficult. It is all about trying to get the confidence back, especially on this surface and I have shown that. Hopefully I can show some good tennis in the next round”, said Sinner. 

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Danil Medvedev saves a set point to beat Nuno Borges in Halle

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Danil Medvedev started his grass campaign with a 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 win over Portugal’s Nuno Borges in 1 hour and 31 minutes at the Terra Wortmann Open Open in Halle. Medvedev is still chasing his first title this season. 

Borges converted his third break point in the second game of the first set. Medvedev broke straight back in the third game and held serve at 15 in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2. Borges earned a set point at 6-5 in the first set, when Medvedev hit a double fault long. Medvedev hit a first serve out wide to save the set point. 

Both players went on serve en route to the tie-break. Medvedev raced out to a 4-0 lead with two mini-breaks. Borges pulled one of the two mini-breaks back for 2-5. Medvedev earned his third mini-break to take a 6-2 lead. Borges saved two set points for 4-6, but Medvedev sealed the tie-break 7-4 on his third chance. The second set went on serve until the 10thgame, when Medvedev broke serve on his second match point. 

Medvedev won five more points than Borges, but he saved five of the six break points he faced. 

Medvedev has a win-loss record of 22-1 against players outside of the top 20. 

Medvedev set up a second round match against Chinese number 1 Zhang Zhizhen, who battled past Sebastian Ofner 7-6 (10-8) 6-7 (3-7) 6-4. Medvedev will play his first head-to-head match against Zhang Zhizhen. 

Lorenzo Sonego won 85 % of his first serve points in his 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-5) win over Miomir Kecmanovic. 

Sonego saved the only break point of the first set in the 11th game. Both players went on serve until the tie-break. Sonego raced out to a 4-1 lead. Kecmanovic pulled back on serve to draw level to 4-4. Sonego earned a first set point at 6-5, but Kecmanovic saved it. Sonego sealed the first set 7-5 on his second set point. 

Sonego earned a break point in the first game of the second set, but Kecmanovic saved it. The Serbian player fended off another break point in the ninth game. Sonego went down 2-5 in the tie-break, but he won five consecutive points to win the second set. 

Sonego will face the winner of the German clash between this year’s Roland Garros finalist Alexander Zverev and world number 471 Oscar Otte. 

Hubert Hurkacz beat Flavio Cobolli 7-5 7-6 (7-5). The first set went on serve until the sixth game, when Hurkacz earned the first break to take a 4-2 lead. Cobolli broke straight back in the seventh game and draw level at 15 to draw level to 4-4. Cobolli saved a set point in the 10th game, but Hurkacz sealed the first set with a break in the 10th game. The second set went on serve until the 12th game when Cobolli saved two match points. Hurkacz earned two mini-breaks to win the tie-break 7-2.  

Hurkacz will face either Brazilian wild-card Joao Fonseca or James Duckworth. 

Dominik Koepfer was leading 6-4 4-3 against Felix Auger Aliassime, when the Canadian player withdrew from the match due to a left hip injury. Fabian Mazoszan overcame last year’s Wimbledon quarter finalist Roman Safiulin 7-5 4-6 6-1. Maroszan could face world number 1 Jannik Sinner, if the Italian player beats Tallon Grieksppr. 

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Alex De Minaur beats Sebastian Korda in s’Hertogenbosch to win his second title of the season

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Alex De Minaur beat Sebastian Korda 6-2 6-4 after 1 hour and 31 minutes to win the ninth title of his career at the Libema Open in s’Hertogenbosch. De Minaur claimed his second title of the season after winning in Acapulco last week. 

De Minaur, who was competing as a top seed for the first time this week, did not drop a set en route to the title at the Dutch grass tournament. He converted five of his 14 break points and saved four of the six chances he faced. 

De Minaur reeled off four consecutive games from 2-2 with back-back breaks in the opening set. The Australian player won eight of nine points breaking at love for 4-2 and consolidated with a hold at 15 for 5-2. De Minaur earned his second straight break to clinch the first set 6-2. 

De Minaur converted his fourth break point in the second game of the second set to build up a 6-2 2-0 lead. Korda broke straight back in the third game and held his serve at 15 in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2. De Minaur converted his third break point in the sixth game to open up a 4-2 lead. The 2023 Davis Cup finalist saved four break points in the seventh game to hold serve for 5-2. 

Korda saved a match point in the eighth game as he was serving to stay in the match, but he made his fourth double fault to face a second match point. The US player hit a forehand pass to save his championhip point. 

Korda broke back for the second game in the ninth game at 15 in the ninth game for 4-5 with a forehand down the line, as De Minaur was serving for his second title of the season. On the changeover Korda took a medical time-out to treat a blister. After a five-minute delay Korda hit a between the legs mid-court forehand. 

De Minaur earned a third championship point with a forehand in the 10thgame, but Korda threw down a smash to save it. Korda hit a backhand long to face a championship match. 

Korda faced a fourth championship point after a backhand long. De Minaur broke serve in the 10th game on his fourth championship point to seal his second title of the season after 1 hour and 34 minutes, as Korda steered a forehand down the line wide. 

The Australian player, who beat Casper Ruud at the Mexican Open in Acapulco last February, has won multiple ATP titles in a single season for the third year following his triumphs in Sydney, Atlanta and Zhuhai in 2019, and in Antalya and Eastbourne in 2021. He has joined Australiana legends Patrick Rafter (1998) and 2000) and and Lleyton Hewitt (2001) as the third player from his country to win the title in s’Hertogenbosch. De Minaur has won his first grass title since Eastbourne in 2021.

“Obviously it was a great match. The conditions were tricky, and Sebastian is a hell of player. I am looking forward to playing doubles with him next week at Queen’s. I am super happy with the week. It’s been great. Happy days. I think it achieves a new career-high for me. That’s always a great title bonus for me. The first week on grass could not have gone better. I am looking forward to next week at Queen’s ”, said De Minaur. 

De Minaur, who had reached a career high of eighth with his semifinal win over Ugo Humbert in the semifinal, will rise two spots to world number 7 in the ATP Ranking next week after winning this title. 

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