Wimbledon 2018

Zverev survives test of nerves

Alexander Zverev returning to American Taylor Fritz in their Wimbledon second-round match yesterday. The German reached the fourth round last year and is aiming to make the quarter-finals for the first time here.
Alexander Zverev returning to American Taylor Fritz in their Wimbledon second-round match yesterday. The German reached the fourth round last year and is aiming to make the quarter-finals for the first time here.PHOTO: REUTERS

World No. 3 fights back against unseeded US opponent; defending champ Muguruza exits

LONDON • Alexander Zverev avoided a shock Wimbledon exit as the world No. 3 battled back to beat American Taylor Fritz 6-4, 5-7, 6-7 (0-7), 6-1, 6-2 yesterday.

Zverev had just lost the third set when bad light forced play to be suspended late on Thursday evening. But the German again scrambled out of trouble after three times winning from two sets to one down at the recent French Open.

The 21-year-old fourth seed won the final two sets to move into the third round, where he will face Latvian qualifier Ernests Gulbis.

"Stopping yesterday two sets to one down was not a nice feeling, but I came out today and knew I would have chances," said Zverev.

"I think the last two sets here showed my progress. I played well on clay, so it's coming together slowly. I'm preparing the best I can. This match showed I can't take anything for granted."

After enjoying the best Grand Slam run of his career when he made the French Open quarter-finals last month, Zverev is hoping to reach the last eight at Wimbledon for the first time.

  • 6 of 8 

  • Women's seeds were sent packing.

Following early exits for Swiss 16th seed Borna Coric and Canadian world No. 25 Denis Shapovalov, Zverev's win was a boost for the group of young prodigies branded the sport's "NextGen" stars by the ATP.

Like Zverev, the 20-year-old Fritz is a former junior world No. 1 earmarked for great things but yet to truly arrive at the highest level.

Fritz, ranked 68th, has strong tennis genes as his mother Kathy reached the Wimbledon last 16 in 1977. But, looking for a first win over a top-five player, the unseeded player let Zverev off the hook with a disappointing collapse. Had he won, 10 of the top 16 combined seeds would have lost prior to the round of 32. By Thursday, six of the top eight women's seeds were out - the most to lose before the third round at Wimbledon in the Open era.

  • DAY 5 SELECTED RESULTS

  • MEN 

    2nd rd: Alexander Zverev (Ger) bt Taylor Fritz (USA) 6-4 5-7 6-7 (0-7) 6-1 6-2. 3rd rd: Kevin Anderson (Rsa) bt Philipp Kohlschreiber (Ger) 6-3 7-5 7-5.

    WOMEN 

    3rd rd: Evgeniya Rodina (Rus) bt Madison Keys (USA) 7-5 5-7 6-4, Camila Giorgi (Ita) bt Katerina Siniakova (Cze) 3-6 7-6 (8-6) 6-2, Ekaterina Makarova (Rus) bt Lucie Safarova (Cze) 4-6 6-4 6-1. 

    AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Defending champion Garbine Muguruza was the biggest name to be sent packing on the fourth day of the tournament after little-known Belgian Alison van Uytvanck produced a fearless brand of hard-hitting tennis to win 5-7, 6-2, 6-1.

She said van Uytvanck played well while she was displeased with her own performance but also revealed her unhappiness over her match being scheduled as the last on Court Two.

The Spanish third seed said after falling in fading light: "There's nothing I can do... to say something now makes no sense. It's just what it is. That's it. I played my match. It's a good court, but... of course, bigger courts are nicer."

World No. 47 van Uytvanck, who had never previously beaten a top-10 player, will face Estonia's Anett Kontaveit for a place in the last 16 today. "Obviously she's so aggressive, so if I would keep letting her play, I would lose anyway," she said of her approach that saw her finish with 29 winners against 22 unforced errors.

"So I was like, 'Let's try this and maybe if it works, we have a chance'. That was my plan to do in the second set and in the third, and obviously it worked well."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

 


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 07, 2018, with the headline 'Zverev survives test of nerves'. Print Edition | Subscribe