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Tennis: Wimbledon opener: Only Struff and Altmaier win

Tennis: Wimbledon opener: Only Struff and Altmaier win
Tennis: Wimbledon opener: Only Struff and Altmaier win

Struff and Altmaier win their opening matches at Wimbledon and are a talking point. The German number one starts on Tuesday with big ambitions.

As Jan-Lennard Struff was chatting casually about his new hairstyle with bleached hair, Daniel Altmaier was having a moment of shock at Wimbledon. The 25-year-old slipped on the grass in the middle of the first set – and stayed lying there for a while. In the end, however, Altmaier was celebrating at the start of the grass classic after a tennis thriller over five sets.

Like Struff, the Kempen native is playing for a place in the third round. Before the first appearance of French Open finalist Alexander Zverev, Struff and Altmaier secured the only German successes at the opening of the Grand Slam tournament.

After slipping up, Altmaier defeated British outsider Arthur Fery 4:6, 7:6 (8:6), 1:6, 6:3, 6:1 after an up-and-down match. He had treatment on his hip and buttocks and fought his way through after 3:45 hours. He took advantage of the favorable draw against the wildcard holder and will face Canadian Denis Shapovalov in his second-round debut at Wimbledon. He suffered some muscle damage, but “nothing serious” happened, reported Altmaier. He finished the match with medication. The referee advised him to stay lying down for a while until the physiotherapists arrived.

Struff has a cold and looks surprising

Struff secured his place in the next round with a 6:4, 6:7 (4:7), 6:2, 6:3 win against Hungarian Fabian Marozsan. “It was a difficult match. I’m very happy with the way I played and won,” said the Sauerland native. He only really showed off his new look when he took off his cap after converting the match point. He was a talking point, and not just because of his victory.

When asked whether his blonde hair was the result of a lost bet or a desire for a change of style, he replied: “A bit of both. My girlfriend did it. Luckily, it worked. When I was little, I had pretty blonde hair. I like it.”

Struff is not irritated by setbacks

The German number two was not deterred by the fact that he had a slight cold when he played against Marozsan. “My nose is running a bit. But everything is fine. I had enough energy.” This was enough to overcome setbacks. The Warsteiner quickly fell behind 0:3 and 1:4, but then found his way back to his powerful game and secured the first set. In the second set, Struff already had the advantage on his side at 5:4, but made a few too many mistakes in the tiebreak.

From the middle of the third set, Struff pulled away. The spectators bid him farewell with applause and a German flag. “It was definitely very nice that there were a lot of German fans there,” said Struff, who now faces the Chinese Zhang Zhizhen.

Yannick Hanfmann put up an exciting fight against the Italian world number one Jannik Sinner, but missed a coup with a score of 3:6, 4:6, 6:3, 3:6. Qualifier Eva Lys, Tamara Korpatsch and Maximilian Marterer were also eliminated.

Kerber and Zverev enter on Tuesday

On Tuesday, former tournament winner Angelique Kerber (against Kazakhstani Yulia Putintseva) and Zverev will also be playing at Wimbledon for the first time. The French Open finalist will face Spanish outsider Roberto Carballés Baena in the first round. In the only duel so far, he defeated him on clay in Madrid in 2023.

“I don’t know how he plays on grass,” Zverev admitted: “It’s a first round where I will hopefully start the tournament well.” Zverev wants to present himself at Wimbledon as ready for grass tennis as he apparently hasn’t felt in recent years.

Zverev on the hunt for the title

The world number four seems to be slowly developing a love for tennis on grass. Despite his disappointing performance in London so far, the 27-year-old has declared himself a title contender for this year’s third Grand Slam tournament of the year and has clearly highlighted his goals: “It’s the first time that I really think I’m here as a candidate to maybe win the title.”

The tournament is perhaps more open than it has been for 20 years, said Zverev, who has never reached the quarterfinals at Wimbledon. This makes the most famous tennis tournament in the world his weakest Grand Slam competition.

Source: Stern

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