Alexander Zverev battles past Marcos Giron in hard-fought match at the Australian Open - UBITENNIS
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Alexander Zverev battles past Marcos Giron in hard-fought match at the Australian Open

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Last year’s US Open finalist Alexander Zverev came back from losing the first set to edge US Marcos Giron 6-7 (8-10) 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 6-2 after 2 hours and 42 minutes in a hard-fought match in the first round of the Australian Open in Melbourne two days after helping Germany reach the ATP Cup semifinals. 

 

Giron fended off three break points in the opening game before Zverev forced an error to take a 4-2 lead. Zverev netted a forehand to drop serve in the eighth game. 

Giron was not able to convert four set points in the tie-break at 6-3 and 7-6 before Zverev wasted a set point at 8-7. Giron won the final three points to win the tie-break 10-8. 

Zverev went up a 5-2 lead with a double break in the third and sixth games. Giron pulled one break back in the ninth game, as Zverev sent a volley long. Zverev hit a service winner at 6-5 in the tie-break to seal the second set. Zverev won 20 of 22 first service points.

Zverev earned two breaks in the first and ninth games to win the third set 6-3. The German broke twice more in the fourth and eighth games to close out the fourth set 6-2. Zverev hit 50 winners, including 16 aces. 

“Giron played incredibly well and played really well on the big stage against a top 10 player. He had me on the ropes and the second set could have gone either way. I didn’t want to go two sets down. I am happy to get through and in the end I played better. The first round of a Grand Slam is never easy. I think it’s incredible to play in front of fans again. That’s something that we missed over the last year or so. I still felt my abs and my back a little bit, so the serve was no full power like it usually is. I barely got over 210 km/h on the serve, which is quite fast, but for me I know I can go faster than that, so I had to vary it a little bit. I had for a lot of spin. He played well, and for me the longer the match went, the better I started playing. That’s something positive”, said Zverev. 

Zverev had a 1-2 record in his singles matches for Germany at last week’s ATP Cup in the same Melbourne Park venue. 

Former Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka beat Pedro Sousa 6-3 6-2 6-4 after 1 hour and 36 minutes. Stan the Man dropped 15 points and never faced a break point. The Swiss player converted four of his 13 break points. 

“I think it was good first round win today. It’s never easy to play your first match here. It’s been three weeks that we have been here getting ready for this tournament. I am happy that I was playing well today. I was playing aggressive, playing some good balls, so I am really happy to be through to the second round”, said Wawrinka. 

Wawrinka set up a second round against Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics, who battled past Marc Polmans 4-6 6-3 6-7 (3-7) 6-3 after 4 hours and 12 minutes. 

Emil Ruusuvuori battled past 10-time ATP Tour champion Gael Monfils 3-6 6-4 7-5 3-6 6-3 scoring one of the biggest wins of his career. The Finnish player fended off 17 of the 23 break points, including five chances in the final set. Monfils has lost seven consecutive tour-level matches. 

Ruusuvuori will take on Pedro Martinez, who cruised past Yoshihito Nishioka 6-1 6-1 6-1. 

“I played a couple of times against Gael. He is very tough, very good physically. He makes a tonne of balls. I will take the good things from today’s match and try to put them on the court on Wednesday and we’ll see how it goes”, said Ruusuvuori. 

Former Australian Open semifinalist Milos Raonic eased past Federico Coria 6-3 6-3 6-2 to secure his spot in the second round, where he will face Corentin Moutet. The young Frenchman rallied from one set down to beat Australia’s John Millman 6-4 6-7 (4-7) 3-6 6-2 6-3 after 3 hours and 45 minutes. 

Taylor Fritz overcame Albert Ramos Vinolas 7-6 (8-6) 3-6 6-2 7-6 (8-6). Egor Gerasimov edged past Benoit Paire 6-2 2-6 7-6 (7-5) 7-5. 

Number 32 seed Miomir Kecmanovic saw off Dennis Novak 6-2 6-4 7-6 (7-2). Miomir Kecmanovic knocked out Kamil Majchrzak 6-2 6-4 6-3. 

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Simona Halep cruises through to the second round with a straight-set win over Anastasia Potapova in Moscow

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Simona Halep cruised through to the second round at the VTB Kremlin Cup in Moscow with a 6-1 6-4 win over Anastasia Potapova after 90 minutes. 

 

Halep has extended her winning record against Potapova after beating her Russian rival in their only previous head-to-head match at the Gippsland Trophy in Melbourne last winter. The Romanian star is making her first appearance since she won the title in 2013.

Four of the first six six games went to deuce. Halep went up an early break to take a 2-0 lead. Potapova broke straight back, but Halep earned two breaks at deuce to take a 5-1 lead before serving out the set at love. 

Four of the first six games of the second set went against serve. Halep converted the first of her two break points to take a 5-4 lead. As Halep was serving for the match at 5-4, Potapova earned three break points.

Halep saved them, before converting her second match point to secure her spot in the second round, where she will face world number 32 Veronika Kudemertova. Halep beat Kudemertova 6-1 6-3 in the third round at this year’s Australian Open. Kudemertova came back from one set down to beat Oksana Selekmetheva 4-6 7-6 (7-3) 6-4 after 2 hous and 20 minutes. 

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Andy Murray battles past Frances Tiafoe in a marathon match in Antwerp

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Andy Murray battled past Frances Tiafoe 7-6 (7-2) 6-7 (7-9) 7-6 (10-8) in a marathon match after 3 hours and 45 minutes to advance to the second rund at the European Open in Antwerp. 

 

Murray came back from a set down in the first set before prevailing in the tie-break. 

Tiafoe opened up a 3-1 lead with an early break in the third game and a hold. Murray reduced the deficit to 2-3 before Tiafoe needed a medical time-out to treat a back problem. Murray broke back in the 10th game to draw level to 5-5. Both players traded breaks in the next two games. Tiafoe wasted a set point. Murray closed out the tie-break with two mini-breaks followed by two consecutive aces.

Both players fended off break points to stay on serve in the second set. Murray saved a set point to hold and forced the second set to to another tie-break. Murray hit a forehand down the centre of the court to open up a 3-1 lead. Tiafoe pulled back on serve after a return into the net from Murray. Tiafoe earned two mini-breaks to take a 4-3 lead. The US player hit a forehand down the line to earn a set point, but Murray saved it to draw level to 6-6. Tiafoe converted his sixth set point with a forehand half-volley to win the 81-minute second set forcing the match to the third set. 

Tiafoe earned a break in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead, but Murray broke straight back to draw level to 3-3. Murray saved two break points to hold for 4-3. Tiafoe held serve to draw level to 5-5 forcing the decider to a third tie-break. Both players earned two mini-breaks in the tie-break before Murray gained a two-point lead, but Tiafoe drew level to 5-5. Murray saved two match points before sealing the win with a backhand dropshot, which Tiafoe could return into the net. 

Murray avenged a defeat against Tiafoe, who beat the Scotsman in the second round at Winston Salem last August. 

Murray will face Diego Schwartzman on Thursday. 

“I think it’s the longest three-set match I have played by quite a distance. I am tired right now, obviously it was an unbelievable battle. Nowadays, obviously my body is old now. I have played a lot of matches on the Tour. I don’t mind playing long matches, but that was taking it to another level. Brilliant match. Amazing atmosphere. Thanks to everyone who came and supported. It’s just so nice. To be back and playing in front of crowd again”, said Murray.  

Murray and Tiafoe played the longest best-of-three set match of 2021, improving the previous record set by Rafael Nadal and Stefanos Tsitsipas, who played for 3 hours and 38 minutes in the Barcelona final. 

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Jenson Brooksby upsets Reilly Opelka to boost his chance to qualify for the Next Gen Finals in Milan

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US Next Gen rising star Jenson Brooksby continues his chase for a spot in the Next Gen Finals in Milan with a 6-4 6-4 win over Reilly Opelka after 1 hour and 12 minutes. 

 

Brooksby earned his first break in the seventh game to take a 4-3 lead. Opelka saved two break points to hold serve at deuce, as he serving to stay in the first set. Brooksby served out the first set in the 10th game before breaking at love in the fourth game to seal the second set 6-4.

Brookby won a set against Novak Djokovic in the fourth round at the US Open and lost the semifinal against Jannik in Washington this year. 

“It’s been a great year. I am happy. I feel like I have been focused, playing well. I will hopefully finish this year strong. He has definitely got one of the best serves on Tour. I thought we had a good game plan. I have been hitting them well and executed pretty well here, so I am happy with that”, said Brooskby. 

Brooksby will face this year’s US Open quarter finalist Botic van de Zandschulp. 

Another US Next Gen player Brandon Nakashima cruised past Alex De Minaur 6-4 6-0. Nakashima converted five of his ten break points. 

De Minaur converted his second break point in the fifth game at deuce to take a 3-2 lead. Nakashima broke straight back in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3. Nakashima broke serve on his third chance at deuce to close out the first set 6-4 and earned three more breaks to take a bagel win in the second set. 

Nakashima reached his first two ATP Tour finals in Los Cabos and Atlanta. 

Lorenzo Musetti beat Gianluca Mager 7-6 (7-2) 7-6 (7-3) after 2 hours and 8 minutes in the all-Italian first round match. Musetti set up a Next Gen clash against his compatriot Jannik Sinner, who won their only previous clash 6-7 7-6 6-3 in the pre-qualifying round of the Rome Internazionali d’Italia. Mager earned the first break in the third game at deuce to take a 2-1 lead. Musetti pulled back on serve in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3, but he dropped his serve in the seventh game to trail 3-4. Musetti broke back in the 10th game to draw level to draw level to 5-5. Both players went on serve en route to the tie-break. Musetti earned two mini-breaks to win the tie-break 7-2. 

Musetti did not convert two break points in the first and third games of the second set. Mager earned a set point in the 10th game, but Musetti saved it to force the set to the tie-break. Musetti earned three match points at 6-3 with his fourth mini-break and converted his first chance with a spectacular serve and volley.  

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