Zverev Completes Late Shift In Big Apple
#NextGenATP stars set to meet in second round
Sporting a 1970s throwback, Alexander Zverev ended his US Open shift victorious at 2:04 a.m. local time on Tuesday morning. The fourth seed, wearing a striped headband, pinstripe shirt and knee-high socks, admitted to staying up beyond his bed time following a 7-6(9), 7-5, 6-4 first-round win over qualifier Darian King on Arthur Ashe Stadium.
The German will next face fellow #NextGenATP Borna Coric of Croatia, who is currently No. 3 in the Emirates ATP Race To London for one of the eight places at the Next Gen ATP Finals, to be held from 7-11 November in Milan. Zverev has already booked his place, having won five ATP World Tour titles this year – including two ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crowns at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia and the Western & Southern Open. He has a 47-14 match record (22-7 on hard courts) in 2017.
Zverev, who came into his encounter against King with a 1-2 record at the final Grand Slam championship of the year, didn’t have things all his own way as he failed to impose his game, appearing frustrated at times and committed 64 unforced errors.
King, the first player from Barbados to play at a major championship, opened up a 3-1 lead in the first set, which lasted 82 minutes. Zverev was unable to convert set point opportunities on King’s serve at 5-6, 30/40, then again at 6/5 and 7/6 in the tie-break. King held two set points of his own at 8/7 and 9/8, courtesy of flashy forehands, before Zverev closed out at 10/9. A single break at 5-5 for Zverev helped him to the second set, before he broke in the third game of the third set and later saved two break points when serving at 4-3.
Coric defeated Jiri Vesely 7-6(5), 7-6(2), 6-2 in two hours and 28 minutes, firing nine aces.
The Croatian claimed the lone previous clash against Zverev, having prevailed in a deciding tie-break at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event in Cincinnati in 2015. The winner will face either 28th seed Kevin Anderson or Ernests Gulbis, after the South African raced past qualifier JC Aragone 6-3, 6-3, 6-1 and the former World No. 10 Latvian defeated Alessandro Giannessi 6-4, 6-7(3), 6-2, 7-5.
Also in this quarter of the draw, 34-year-old Gilles Muller and 35-year-old Paolo Lorenzi will square off in a battle of elder statesmen in the second round. Thirteen years removed from their first meeting, Muller leads the FedEx ATP Head2Head by a total of 3-1. Muller rallied past Bernard Tomic 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 and Lorenzi did the same to defeat Joao Sousa 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(4), 6-2.