Zverev triumphs in battle of Olympic champs

LOS ANGELES • Alexander Zverev won the clash of Olympic gold medallists at the ATP Indian Wells event on Tuesday, holding off a fierce challenge from Andy Murray despite a shoe lace issue.

The 24-year-old German advanced to the fourth round, coming from behind in both sets to beat two-time Olympic gold-medal winner Murray 6-4, 7-6 (7-4).

"I'm happy about the match, how everything went," said Zverev. "I think it was a very entertaining match. It was pretty high level.

"You've got to enjoy what you're doing. You've got to enjoy being out on the court and enjoy playing tennis."

Zverev won the Olympic gold medal at the recent Tokyo Games and former world No. 1 Murray won gold at London 2012 and Rio 2016.

Third-seeded Zverev moves on to play Gael Monfils of France.

Murray tossed his racket several times after missing easy shots and the outbursts were in contrast to Zverev, who maintained his concentration in the seventh game of the second set when the laces on his left shoe snapped.

He continued to play with the wobbly shoe but then had to take an extra long break between games so he could swop out the laces.

In the night match, second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece defeated Italian veteran Fabio Fognini 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 to reach the fourth round where he will face Australia's Alex de Minaur.

In the WTA side of the draw, unseeded Shelby Rogers upset US Open runner-up Leylah Fernandez, outlasting the Canadian teenager 2-6, 6-1, 7-6 (7-4) to reach the quarter-finals.

Rogers moves on to play 24th-seeded Jelena Ostapenko, who upset second seed Iga Swiatek of Poland 6-4, 6-3.

Separately, Murray has said he expects unvaccinated players to compete at the Australian Open but would support moves by local authorities to impose stricter conditions on them at Melbourne Park.

Victoria Sports Minister Martin Pakula said on Tuesday that players should get vaccinated to give themselves the best chance of competing in Melbourne. Tennis Australia has declined to comment on arrangements for players based on their vaccination status.

"My understanding is if you're unvaccinated, you're still allowed to play, it's just the rules are going to be different," the Scot said.

"You might just have to leave (for Australia) a few weeks earlier than everyone else. I would support that. It would be great if more players got vaccinated."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 14, 2021, with the headline 'Zverev triumphs in battle of Olympic champs'. Subscribe