Second seed Alexander Zverev started his 2022 clay court season with a win against Federico Delbonis of Argentina as he advanced to third round of the ATP Masters 1000 title with a 6-1, 7-5 victory.
With Zverev now the highest ranked player left in the tournament after the shock exit of top seeded player Novak Djokovic, he would be eyeing his sixth ATP Masters 1000 title this time round. A win in this tournament would move the German ace a step closer to the top spot in the ATP rankings.
“This is the only Masters on clay I haven’t won yet, but I’m very motivated to do so,” said Zverev, a 2018 semi-finalist at the event. “I’m very motivated to play great tennis and I hope I can show that on the court this week.”
Zverev started the match on the front foot by winning six games in a row after losing the first one which led to him taking the lead comfortably. His Argentine opponent fought back with full concentration though and even came close to winning the set after reaching the set point at 5-2. However, Zverev maintained his composure and managed to fight back to come within a game of victory.
The Argentine Delbonis fought to save a match point at 4-5 as well as at 5-6 but failed to do so in the third.
“I think just coming back, never letting him get too far ahead,” the German said. “I broke him back twice, so that is helpful. If you’re down 4-1, 5-2, something like that, it’s not easy to come back.”
The world No. 3 player will be now facing Spanish player Pablo Carreno Busta in the round of 16, after the Spaniard qualified to the next round because of his second round opponent Alexander Bublik retiring in between the three-set match.
Fifth seed Andrey Rublev also came back after losing one set to overcome Australian Alex de Minaur 2-6, 6-1, 6-4 to go throug to next round. It was the Russian’s maiden head-to-head victory over Minaur after losing the previous two matches against him. Rublev will now lock horns with ninth seed Jannik Sinner for a place in the quarter-finals of the tournament.
(Inputs from IANS)