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Monday, February 6, 2023

Tennis Grand Slam tournament: German debacle at the start of the Australian Open

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For the German tennis professionals, the start of the Australian Open is not going as hoped. Despite a good performance, Jule Niemeier also loses against the number 1 in the world. Zverev intervenes on Tuesday.

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Zero out of six – the German tennis professionals experienced a debacle at the start of the Australian Open. None of the six players who started on Monday cleared their first-round hurdle.

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Oscar Otte, Daniel Altmaier, Yannick Hanfmann, Tamara Korpatsch, Eva Lys and finally Jule Niemeier all suffered defeats in Melbourne Park and from a German perspective caused a sobering atmosphere at the “Happy Slam” early on.

Otte’s self-criticism matched the poor performance: “I felt like I was a garbage can on the pitch.” And Eurosport expert Boris Becker said smugly: “Sometimes being there is everything…” On Tuesday, among others, Olympic champion Alexander Zverev can polish up the German balance sheet – with noble fan Dirk Nowitzki as support in the stands.

Nowitzki brings Niemeier no luck

The basketball icon also followed Niemeier’s opening match in the Rod Laver Arena – and was not a lucky charm. As in the round of 16 of the US Open last September, Niemeier caused major problems for world number one Iga Swiatek, but after almost two hours of play the Pole prevailed against the Wimbledon quarter-finalist. “She really put a lot of pressure on her,” praised top seed Swiatek.

“In my opinion I didn’t do much wrong, it was definitely not something mental,” said Niemeier. “Against top players, they play better in tight situations and go a step further.”

After a two-set lead against the wild card holder Rinky Hijikata, Hanfmann already looked like the sure winner, but the Australian, inspired by the frenetic crowd, turned the game after 4:25 hours into a 4: 6, 4: 6, 6: 3, 7:6 (7:5) and 6:3.

Meanwhile, Otte was hard on himself. He didn’t manage to “play in a reasonable return with the backhand,” said the Davis Cup player after the deserved 2: 6, 4: 6, 7: 6 (7: 2), 5: 7 against the qualifier Shanghai Juncheng. Otte couldn’t find a match against the 17-year-old Chinese from the start. “It’s just crazy what happened today.”

Altmeier fights and loses

Altmaier put number 16 seeded American Frances Tiafoe under great pressure from the third set, but in the end had to beat himself 3: 6, 3: 6, 7: 6 (7: 5), 6: 7 (6: 8). give. “He fought incredibly,” Tiafoe praised the German afterwards.

Lys was “disappointed” after beating Spanish qualifier Cristina Bucsa 6-2, 0-6, 2-6. After winning the first set, she “really realized what was happening” – after that there was a break in the game of the main field debutant. The 21-year-old also had her right wrist treated in the second set. For Korpatsch, the tournament is over after the expected 3: 6, 2: 6 against former US Open winner Emma Raducanu from Great Britain.

On Tuesday (4.30 a.m. CET) Zverev is the focus. Despite his long mandatory break due to a foot injury in the French Open semifinals, the Hamburg player is the clear favorite in a duel with Peruvian qualifier Juan Pablo Varillas. He only saw the clay court specialist play once, Zverev revealed: “I have to look at myself and see that I get in shape. Every opponent is very important to me.”

Zverev hopes for Nowitzki

Zverev is hoping for the support of Nowitzki, who hit a few balls with Zverev at Melbourne Park last week and wants to watch the game live on site. “He told me that he will be there Monday and Tuesday. I think he will also be there for my match,” said Zverev.

In addition to Zverev, three other German players are hoping to advance to the second round on Tuesday. Jan-Lennard Struff is just an outsider against American Tommy Paul. In the women’s category, Wimbledon semi-finalist Tatjana Maria faces Italy’s Lucrezia Stefanini, while Laura Siegemund competes with Lucia Bronzetti from Italy.

There was bad news for the organizers on Monday: local hero Nick Kyrgios had to cancel his start due to a meniscus injury. “It’s brutal,” said the Wimbledon finalist, who was considered one of the biggest advertisers for the tournament at Melbourne Park. After all, the Spanish defending champion Rafael Nadal prevented an early exit with a 7: 5, 2: 6, 6: 4, 6: 1 against the British Jack Draper.

Source: Stern

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