Alexander Zverev passes first round fitness test in Rotterdam
Alexander Zverev took another step towards regaining his best form in a battling win over South Korea’s Soonwoo Kwon.
Bolstered by his powerful serve and behind 10 aces, Zverev secured a 6-4, 7-6(4) win that was far from straightforward.
The German admits that he is battling his own impatience to return to the top.
Zverev saved three break points, generated when the accuracy of his serve faltered.
He says that his main goal in every tournament is simply to spend as much time on court as he can.
Zverev was in the midst of what might have gone down as an all-time classic Roland Garros semi-final against Rafael Nadal when he suffered a catastrophic injury.
The injury saw him miss the rest of the 2022 season and hampered his preparation for 2023.
As for title aspirations in Rotterdam, Zverev said he was taking everything one step at a time.
“Every match for me is very important right now and obviously playing against very high-level players and having wins against them I think is very important for my confidence as well,” Zverev said.
“We’ll see how this week goes, but I’m definitely excited for just every match that I’m going to play here.”
Zverev will next play home hope Tallon Griekspoor, after the Dutch wildcard clawed past Swedish qualifier Mikael Ymer 7-6(7), 7-5.
Meanwhile, third seed Felix Auger-Aliassime made a perfect start to his title defence at the Rotterdam Open.
The Canadian star blew past Italy’s Lorenzo Sonego 6-2, 6-3 to reach the second round in short order.
Auger-Aliassime took 82 minutes to put Sonego away, needing to save two break points over the course of the match but otherwise looking in firm control.
In his championship-winning run last term, Auger-Aliassime made a faltering start when he dropped the first set Egor Gerasimov.
However, his start in Rotterdam this February was impressive and fired a warning shot for the rest of the field.
Sonego tried to counter Auger-Aliassime’s power game with spin but he ended up providing the perfect setup for the lanky 22-year-old to crunch imperious winners.
Auger-Aliassime advances to a second-round clash with Frenchman Gregoire Barrere.
Earlier Hubert Hurkacz needed to dig deep to get beyond Roberto Bautista Agut 7-5, 6-7(7), 7-6(4) holding up the action on centre court for a little over three hours.
Hurkacz saved six of the nine break points he faced to move on having snapped a three-match losing run against Bautista Agut and claim his first ATP Tour-level win over the Spaniard.
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