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Tennis: Zverev fights his way into the round of 16 with a five-set win

Tennis: Zverev fights his way into the round of 16 with a five-set win

The title candidate rarely convinces in third-round matches, which is why Boris Becker has a “stomach ache”. Zverev wins in the match tiebreak anyway. Jan-Lennard Struff says goodbye.

After his happy ending in the nerve-wracking five-set thriller, Alexander Zverev spread his arms and smiled with relief. The Olympic tennis champion has struggled to avoid a disappointing third-round exit at the French Open and can continue his title mission in Paris. The 27-year-old had to accept his first two set losses in the tournament, but he fought his way to a 3:6, 6:4, 6:2, 4:6, 7:6 (10:3) victory against the Dutchman Tallon Griekspoor.

“Wow, an incredible match,” said Zverev afterwards and praised his opponent, who also fought bravely: “He is an incredible opponent, very dangerous.” For Zverev, Griekspoor almost became an early stumbling block on the way to the targeted Grand Slam title in Paris.

But despite an inconsistent performance, the Hamburg native reached the round of 16 at the Stade Roland Garros for the seventh time in a row. In the fight for a quarter-final ticket, Zverev will face the winner of the duel between the Dane Holger Rune and Jozef Kovalik from Slovakia.

Shortly before, Jan-Lennard Struff was eliminated in the third round. The 34-year-old lost his match against the number eleven seeded Australian Alex De Minaur 6:4, 4:6, 3:6, 3:6, which was interrupted by a long rain break. The exit also dampened the big BVB fan’s anticipation of the Champions League final of his favorite football club Borussia Dortmund against Real Madrid that evening. “At the moment I’m not in the mood for it,” he said just under an hour before kick-off.

Becker criticizes weak start

Zverev got off to a weak start on the covered Philippe Chatrier court and immediately conceded a break to 0:2, which he was unable to make up in the first set. “I didn’t like him at all in the first hour, he was somehow not on the court physically and in terms of playing,” said tennis icon Boris Becker on Eurosport: “I had a bit of a stomach ache.”

From the middle of the second set, Zverev played with more pressure and made significantly fewer easy mistakes. The world number four celebrated the set tie emotionally and with a loud “Let’s go!” From then on, things went much better for the favorite, but he allowed himself another inexplicable weak phase in the fourth set.

Griekspoor, who had to be treated for his right thigh, fought his way to the fifth set thanks to his dangerous drop shots – and got off to a dream start with a break to make it 1-0. He extended his lead to 4-1, but Zverev fought back. In the match tiebreak, Zverev’s greater quality prevailed.

The decisive factor was that he moved further forward in his return position. “His strength was the serve-and-volley, which really killed me for a set and a half. I had to take that away from him,” said Zverev.

Sabalenka wins “Battle of the Besties”

Meanwhile, Aryna Sabalenka clearly won the tennis duel with her friend Paula Badosa. The Belarusian won the “Battle of the Besties”, as the organizers had advertised the third-round match, 7:5, 6:1. “It’s always hard to play against your best friend on the tour,” said world number two Sabalenka before the first serve: “I love her so much, she’s a great fighter.”

The Spaniard Badosa was also scheduled to play in the mixed doubles with friend Stefanos Tsitsipas later in the day, but her match, like many other doubles fixtures on Saturday, was postponed due to persistent rain. Tsitsipas’ doubles appearance with brother Petros also did not take place on Saturday.

Source: Stern

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