Alexander Zverev suffers blow to ATP Finals hopes after first round exit at Basel
Alexander Zverev’s hopes of being able to defend his ATP Finals crown next month suffered a blow as he lost in the first round in Basel.
The second seed struggled against an inspired Taylor Fritz before sinking to a frustrating 7-6 (8-6), 6-4 defeat that leaves him vulnerable in the race to London.
Third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas had to work hard to avoid a similar upset, the 21-year-old battling to a 6-3 7-6 (6) victory in the evening session against Spain’s Albert Ramos-Vinolas.
Moldova’s Radu Albot recovered from losing the opening set to beat Dusan Lajovic 2-6 6-3 6-4 and secure a second-round clash with top seed and nine-time champion Roger Federer.
Fifth-seeded Italian Fabio Fognini enjoyed a comfortable 6-2 6-4 win over Australia’s Alexei Popyrin, while American Reilly Opelka came out on top in two tie-breaks in a serving duel with Chilean Cristian Garin.
Opelka saved two set points in the second tie-break, finishing the contest with 27 aces and winning 98 per cent of points on his first serve.
Austrian Dominic Thiem started one of his favourite weeks of the season with a first win over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, beating the Frenchman 6-4 7-6 (2) to reach the second round of the Erste Bank Open in Vienna.
Thiem will next face Fernando Verdasco, who beat Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili 4-6 6-2 6-1, while South Korea’s Hyeon Chung overcame Milos Raonic 6-4 7-5.
Elsewhere, France’s Gilles Simon knocked out 2004 champion Feliciano Lopez 6-4 6-3 to set up a clash against Aljaz Bedene, who struck 14 aces and won 28 of 29 first-service points in a 6-4 6-4 win over seventh seed Guido Pella of Argentina.
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