Alexander Zverev and Tomas Berdych start their Rotterdam campaign with straight-set wins
Alexander Zverev and Tomas Berdych won their first-round matches in straight sets to advance to the second round at the ABN AMRO in Rotterdam.
Alexander Zverev beat David Ferrer 6-4 6-3 in one hour and 24 minutes. The 20-year-old German fended off nine of the eleven break points and broke five times.
The German Next Gen player had to save nine of the eleven break points and broke serve five times.
Zverev survived a tough second game at 1-1 after saving three break points with three winners. He broke for the first time in the third game at deuce with a drop shot to take a 2-1 lead. He went a double break at love to open up a 4-1 lead. Ferrer earned four break points in the sixth game and pulled one break back on his fourth chance with a volley winner at deuce to close the deficit to 2-4. Zverev held his final two service games and closed out the first set 6-4 with a service winner.
Both players traded breaks in the first two games and held at 30 in the next four games to draw level to 3-3. Zverev got another break at 30 in the seventh game to take a 4-3 lead, as Ferrer made a double fault. Zverev held a tough service game at deuce for 5-3 after saving three break points. Ferrer went up 40-0 on the return in the eighth game after a 23-shot rally but Zverev hit two service winners before forcing the game to deuce when Ferrer netted a forehand.
Zverev hit tw service winners to win the eighth game. The German wrapped up the match with another break in the ninth game with a lob winner.
Former Rotterdam champion Tomas Berdych made his debut in Rotterdam with a 7-5 6-3 win over Alexander’s elder brother Misha Zverev. Berdych converted three of his break points. Misha Zverev created six break points (including four in the opening game of the match).
Berdych won the Dutch tournament in 2014 beating Marin Cilic and lost the final to Stan Wawrinka one year later.
Misha earned six break points in Berdych’s first four service games. He failed to convert four opportunities in the first game but broke serve in the third game with a forehand winner to take a 2-1 lead and held his next three service games to open up a 5-3.
The Czech player broke back and held serve at love in the 11th game before breaking serve with a solid return in the following game to close out the first set 7-5.
The Czech star dropped just four points on serve and broke serve in the fourth game with a volley winner at the net. He held serve at 15 in the ninth game to reach the Round of 16.
Berdych has won 20 matches in this tournament, including nine consecutive wins from 2014 to 2015. He is playing at this tournament for the eleventh time in his career.
Berdych will face either Jan-Lennard Struff or Viktor Troicki in the second round.
“It almost feels like a home match here. I love this tournament and like to come back every year. It is very well organised, because the facilities for the players are great. The centre court being the highlight. Misha Zverev is just a tough opponent who likes to play indoors. I gradually got better and better in my rhythm. I am pleased with this good victory. It’s a good start to the tournament”, said Berdych.
Feliciano Lopez beat 2016 Rotterdam champion Martin Klizan 6-3 7-6 (7-4) to secure his spot in the second round. Klizan held his serve in the fourth game at deuce after saving three break points for 2-2. Lopez reeled off four of the next five games including a break in the sixth game en route to winning the first set 6-3.
Klizan broke serve in the fourth game and held his next two service games to open up a 5-3 lead. Lopez broke back in the ninth game and consolidated it to draw level to 5-5. Both player held their serve in the next two service games to set up a tie-break. Lopez prevailed by 7-4 in the tie-break to seal the win in straight sets.
In the second round Lopez will play against the winner of the Tuesday match between David Goffin and Benoit Paire.
Seppi got his only break in the third game at 30 and held his next four service games to take the first set 6-4. Sousa bounced back by breaking serve in the second game of the second set to take a 3-0 lead.
Sousa held his serve at deuce in the fifth game to open up a 4-1 lead after saving a break point. The Portuguese player got the double break at deuce and served out the second set at 30 with two aces.
Seppi earned an early break in the second game of the decider to open up a 4-2 lead. The Italian player, who reached the fourth round at the Australian Open last month, held his serve at deuce after saving two break points for 5-2. He converted his third break point at deuce in the final game to close out the third set 6-2.
“I am very happy with this win. I played on clay in the Davis Cup in Marbella against a lefty player, because you don’t encounter many lef-handed players on the Tour”, said Lopez.
The 45th anniversary edition of the famous Dutch tournament will be highlighted by Swiss legend Roger Federer, who will play his first tournament since his second consecutive triumph at the Australian Open. Roger will play in Rotterdam for the ninth time in his career. The tournament features four top-ten players
“I am happy to be back at the tournament in Rotterdam where I have good memories. In 1999 I received a wildcard for the qualificatons from the tournament director and made it to the qualifications in the main draw. That ultimately meant a breakthrough in my career. Rotterdam remains one of the largest indoor tournaments in the world and everything is well organized here”.
Federer is just 155 points away from the first position in the ATP Ranking, which is currently held by Rafa Nadal. If he reaches at least the semifinal, the Swiss Maestro could become the oldest number one player in the ATP Ranking in history replacing André Agassi, who last held to number 1 spot on 7 September 2003 at the age of 33. He would return to the top of the ranking for the first time since 4 November 2012.
“I did not expect to be the number one in the world after the ATP World Tour Finals last November in London. I only ever said I would think about the ATP Rankings after the Australian Open was over. I did not expect to win the Australian Open again and by not winning the ATP Finals. I never thought it would happen again and it may be out of sight. I played at the Australian Open not thinking about the rankings, but I knew I had the flexibility in February over my calendar. I could choose between Rotterdam and Dubai. I like to play in both tournaments, but I have chosen Rotterdam because I like to play indoors. I am very motivated to be the number one in the ATP Ranking again”.
He will play his first match against Ruben Bemelmans on Wednesday evening.
“I know him a lot, but not well enough yet. I still have some scouting to do. Perhaps it’s more important to be ready for that game myself.”
Federer could meet his compatriot Stan Wawrinka in the the quarter finals.
“I would love to be in that position to attain number 1 against anybody. If I get back to that spot you don’t want it to happen in an easy way. The achievement would be quite incredible. It’s exciting to have Stan in my section of the draw.”