Tennis Olympic champion Alexander Zverev had a hard time preventing an opening defeat at the Australian Open. The 25-year-old won against the Peruvian qualifier Juan Pablo Varillas after a highly inconsistent performance 4: 6, 6: 1, 5: 7, 7: 6 (7: 3) and 6: 4 and reached in Melbourne the second round.
There the Hamburger meets the French Laurent Lokoli or the American Michael Mmoh on Thursday. Here, too, Zverev could have been worse, because the world number 50 said on Tuesday. David Goffin from Belgium fell ill at short notice. For him, Mmoh moved up as a lucky loser. Zverev is the first German professional to survive the first round of this year's hard court tournament.
"I'm extremely happy, I've missed that in the last seven months," said Zverev in the winner's interview on the pitch: "No matter what else comes - the tournament is already a success for me."
Game practice is still missing
Seven and a half months after his serious foot injury in the French Open semifinals, Zverev's lack of match practice was clearly noticeable. After a weak first set, the Hamburg player improved, but in the third round there was a break in the game of the world number 13, which brought the clay court specialist Varillas back into the game with mistakes and lack of concentration. After that, Zverev was in demand as a fighter - and the 2020 Australian Open semi-finalist accepted that brilliantly. After 4:06 hours he converted his second match point.
Zverev was lucky that his opener took place in the covered and air-conditioned Margaret Court Arena. Play on the outdoor courts was interrupted for around three hours because the official "heat stress scale" had reached its highest level at around 2 p.m. (local time). Temperatures of over 35 degrees were measured at Melbourne Park.
Struff loses the opening match
The matches of Jan-Lennard Struff, Wimbledon semi-finalist Tatjana Maria and Laura Siegemund were all scheduled for secondary places and were delayed accordingly. Struff was eliminated in three sets after the game was resumed against the American Tommy Paul. At the start of the hard court tournament on Monday, all six German players who started had failed.