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Australian Open: Alexander Zverev struggles to win on his comeback


All six German professionals failed on the first day of the tournament, and Jan-Lennard Struff was also eliminated on the second day. Only Alexander Zverev won with difficulty against outsider Juan Pablo Varillas. A Russian flag caused trouble.

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Alexander Zverev in his first round match against Peruvian Juan Pablo Varillas

Photo: IMAGO/Mike Frey/IMAGO/USA TODAY Network

Olympic champion Alexander Zverev had a hard time preventing an opening defeat at the Australian Open.

The 25-year-old won against the Peruvian qualifier Juan Pablo Varillas, number 103 in the world rankings, after a highly variable performance 4: 6, 6: 1, 5: 7, 7: 6 (7: 3) and 6: 4 and reached the eighth consecutive second round in Melbourne.

There he meets the French Laurent Lokoli or the American Michael Mmoh on Thursday.

Here, too, Zverev could have been worse, because the world number 50 said on Tuesday.

David Goffin from Belgium fell ill at short notice.

For him, Mmoh moved up as a lucky loser.

Zverev is the first German professional to survive the first round of this year's tournament.

Seven and a half months after his serious foot injury in the French Open semifinals, Zverev's lack of match practice was clearly noticeable.

After a weak first set, he improved, but in the third round there was a break in the game of the world number 13, who brought the clay court specialist Varillas back into the game with mistakes and lack of concentration.

After that, Zverev was in demand as a fighter - and the 2020 Australian Open semi-finalist accepted that.

After 4:06 hours he converted his second match point.

Zverev was lucky that his opener took place in the covered and air-conditioned Margaret Court Arena.

Play on the outdoor courts was interrupted for around three hours because the official "heat stress scale" had reached its highest level at around 2 p.m. (local time).

Temperatures of over 35 degrees were measured at Melbourne Park.

Struff fails because of Paul

The matches of Jan-Lennard Struff, Wimbledon semi-finalist Tatjana Maria and Laura Siegemund were all scheduled for secondary places and were delayed accordingly.

After the game resumed, Struff lost in three sets 1: 6, 6: 7 (6: 8), 2: 6 against the American Tommy Paul.

At the start of the tournament on Monday, all six German players who started had failed.

Russian flags are now also banned in the stands

With immediate effect, Russian and Belarusian flags are also banned in the spectator stands at the tournament in Melbourne.

Tennis Australia was responding to the excitement during and after Monday's first-round match between victorious Ukraine's Kateryna Baindl and Russia's Kamilla Rakhimova, as fans presented a Russian flag.

Because pictures of it were widely shared and criticized on social media, the organizers gave up their original stance regarding the national flags for the fans.

These were initially allowed on the Melbourne Park grounds as long as they didn't bother anyone.

"The ban applies immediately," Tennis Australia said in a statement on Tuesday.

Flags of other countries are still allowed.

Russian and Belarusian tennis players are allowed to start at the first Grand Slam tournament of the year, but only under a neutral flag.

They were excluded from Wimbledon because of the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine.


Source: spiegel

All sports articles on 2023-01-17

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