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Tennis: Zverev advances after three-set win against Otte in Halle

Tennis: Zverev advances after three-set win against Otte in Halle
Tennis: Zverev advances after three-set win against Otte in Halle

Alexander Zverev struggled for a long time in Halle. But then the Olympic champion finally prevailed against a fellow countryman. He will be back in action on Wednesday.

Olympic tennis champion Alexander Zverev only managed to avoid a first-round exit at the grass tournament in Halle, Westphalia, with great difficulty. The French Open finalist defeated Oscar Otte from Cologne 6:7 (5:7), 6:3, 6:4 in his opening match. Zverev secured his place in the round of 16 after 2 hours and 17 minutes with his first match point.

Zverev will be challenged again on Wednesday. In the fight for a place in the quarter-finals, the world number four will face the Italian Lorenzo Sonego this evening. Jan-Lennard Struff and Dominik Koepfer will also be in action at the ATP 500 tournament beforehand.

“Oscar made it very difficult for me,” said Zverev after the match. “I recently played on clay, he won twice in two sets in qualifying. Of course I was still lacking rhythm, but I’m happy to have made it through.”

Nine days after his bitter Paris final defeat to Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, Zverev clearly struggled to adjust from the clay court to the grass court, which he doesn’t like much. The Hamburg native made numerous avoidable mistakes and didn’t move optimally under the roof of the OWL Arena, which was closed due to heavy rain. The fact that his first serve worked and he hit 17 aces in the first set saved him in the tiebreak. But Otte used his second set point there after 50 minutes.

“I’m no longer interested in Paris”

But Zverev improved in the second set. He managed the first break to make it 3-1, Zverev clenched his fist and found his game better. “I’m no longer interested in Paris. I have a job to do and goals for this year. And I won’t achieve them if I keep thinking about Paris for weeks,” Zverev said before the match about his bitter defeat in the final at the French Open. “The focus is now fully on Wimbledon.”

The grass court classic in London begins on July 1. By then, Zverev will have to improve significantly. But against Otte, who at least reached the semifinals in Halle in 2022, the improvement in performance after losing the first set was enough for him. After 1:29 hours, the world number four managed to equalize the set.

Otte did not give up after that and had the first break chances in the decisive third set at 2:1. But Zverev survived the tricky situation and managed the decisive break to make it 4:3.

Top favorite Jannik Sinner also had a difficult start to the tournament. The 22-year-old Italian also lost the first set in his opening match against the Dutchman Tallon Griekspoor, but ultimately won 6:7 (8:10), 6:3, 6:2. Sinner converted his first match point after 2 hours and 22 minutes. The Australian Open champion will now face the Hungarian Fabian Marozsan.

Source: Stern

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