Paris (AP) – With his strongest performance so far this year in Paris, Alexander Zverev reached the round of 16 at the French Open.
Two days after the five-sentence thriller against Pierre-Hugues Herbert from France, Germany’s best tennis player clearly prevailed against Italian Marco Cecchinato 6: 1, 7: 5, 6: 3 despite again adverse conditions with rain and wind. Zverev converted his third match ball after only 1:47 hours and will now meet the Italian shooting star Jannik Sinner on Sunday.
“That was good today. Much better than two days ago,” said Zverev after his excellent performance. “But I know that I have to keep improving. It will be more difficult,” said the 23-year-old, who has a lot of respect for Sinner. “He is incredibly talented and has the most power on the tour among the young players.”
“His attitude was great today. He went onto the court as the favorite and showed his opponent that from the start,” said tennis legend Boris Becker as a TV expert at Eurosport. The three-time Wimbledon winner was still worried about Zverev’s fitness after the long match against Herbert and the exertions at the US Open in New York. But against Cecchinato, who surprisingly made it to the semi-finals in 2018 at the Stade Roland Garros, Zverev made a good and fresh impression.
But before the native of Hamburg was allowed to enter the Suzanne Lenglen court, he had to wait several hours. Because of the rain, the meeting between the Swiss Stan Wawrinka and the French Hugo Gaston was interrupted for around two hours. And because the two then played a five-set match, Zverev’s third-round game didn’t start until around 7.30 p.m. local time.
Zverev didn’t seem to have minded the long wait. The US Open finalist was wide awake from the start and managed two quick breaks. After just 25 minutes, Zverev got the first set. In the second set, the Italian then improved and even took a 5: 3 lead. But Zverev remained calm and won the round 7: 5 with four game wins in a row.
Cecchinato’s resistance was broken. Zverev also managed a quick break in the third set and marched effortlessly into the second round. There, however, he should be asked a little more. The 19-year-old Sinner is considered one of the most talented players on the tour and won the small World Cup for the best young players last year.
Like Zverev, the two top favorites Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem also reached the second round in a gentle cycle. The twelve-time Paris champion Nadal easily won 6: 1, 6: 4, 6: 0 against the Italian Stefano Travaglia. The 34-year-old Spaniard only needed 1:35 hours for his success. Nadal is now dealing with the 20-year-old Sebastian Korda. The Czech qualifier is the son of the former world-class player Petr Korda.
Thiem also had no trouble on the Philippe Chatrier court before. The US Open champion won against Casper Ruud from Norway 6: 4, 6: 3, 6: 1. The 27-year-old Austrian used his second match point after 2:15 hours and, like Nadal, has not lost a set in the tournament.
In the round of 16, the number three in the tennis world will now meet the French wildcard holder Hugo Gaston. The 20-year-old completely surprisingly eliminated the Swiss Stan Wawrinka, who had been so strong in Paris so far, with 2: 6, 6: 3, 6: 3, 4: 6, 6: 0. Gaston is just number 239 in the world. Another player who is worse in the ranking was in the last sixteen of the French Open.