Zverev Advances In Vienna Opener
Alexander Zverev has come a long way since losing in the final round of qualifying in his last appearance at the Erste Bank Open 500 in 2014.
A five-time champion this season, Zverev began his pursuit of a sixth title this year in Vienna on Monday with a 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 victory against Viktor Troicki.
The German, who is No. 3 in the Emirates ATP Race To London, is attempting to find his best form to close out his season on a high note.
Zverev took one hour, 47 minutes to get by the Serbian, extending his FedEx ATP Head2Head record over the veteran to 3-1. The 6’6” right-hander will next play the tricky Frenchman Gilles Simon, who defeated Ernests Gulbis, 6-3, 6-3. The 20-year-old holds a 3-0 FedEx ATP Head2Head advantage over Simon, with two of the three meetings going to a final-set tie-break.
Philipp Kohlschreiber earned his 30th tour-level victory of the season when he defeated fifth seed John Isner, 7-6(6), 6-4. The German overcame a break deficit in both the first and second sets, saving three set points in the opening tie-break.
“I played my best tennis with my back to the wall,” Kohlschreiber said. “Though it is rare that a player like him would give a match away once he is two breaks up.”
It is the 11th straight season that the German has reached the 30-win mark. The only players who own longer streaks of 30 wins per year are Rafael Nadal (14 years), Tomas Berdych (13 years) and Novak Djokovic (12 years).
The German evened his FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry with the American at 4-4, winning for the fourth time in their past five meetings.
Kohlschreiber will next face qualifier Pierre-Hugues Herbert, who sent Bernard Tomic’s record on the season to 10-19 with a 7-6(4), 7-5 win.
The Frenchman, who earned his berth in the Nitto ATP Finals in doubles with Nicolas Mahut, snapped a six-match losing streak in tour-level main draws. And while he trails Kohlschreiber in their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry, 2-1, he triumphed in their last meeting at The Championships last year.
Richard Gasquet got his tournament off to a strong start with a 6-2, 6-3 win over fellow veteran Feliciano Lopez. That sets up a second-round clash against the winner of a blockbuster opener between second seed Dominic Thiem and Andrey Rublev, who has qualified for the inaugural Next Gen ATP Finals. That first-round match will begin Tuesday's evening session.