Zverev digs deep to outlast fellow German Altmaier


MELBOURNE, Jan 17 (Reuters) – Alexander Zverev took time to warm up and had to dig deep against fellow German Daniel Altmaier in his first match of the Australian Open on Monday as the world number three kick-started his bid to add a maiden Grand Slam title to his Olympic gold.

The 24-year-old Zverev, who won the men’s singles gold in Tokyo last year, defeated the 87th-ranked Altmaier 7-6(3) 6-1 7-6(1) under the lights at the Rod Laver Arena to set up a second round meeting against Australian John Millman.

“Not much went to plan today to be honest except that I won,” Zverev said in his on-court interview. “But that is how it is sometimes. It is the first round of a very long tournament and you are not always going to play your best tennis.

“It was a good match for me to get into the tournament and hopefully the next round will be better.”

The 2020 U.S. Open finalist showed his frustration on occasions with double faults but was otherwise solid in his service games, facing only a single breakpoint in the entire match – which Altmaier converted to lead the third set briefly.

But the tall German, whose best performance at Melbourne Park remains reaching the semi-finals in 2020, needed five match points to get over the line and sealed the contest in the tiebreaker when Altmaier found the net with a return. (Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly; editing by Christian Radnedge)


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