Alexander Zverev is off to a winning start at the Diriyah Tennis Cup. The German took down his good friend Dominic Thiem 10-8, 10-7 in under half an hour to advance into the quarter-final in Saudi Arabia. It was Alexander’s first match in six months, injuring his ligaments in the Roland Garros semi-final and missing the rest of the season.
Zverev played well against Thiem, dropping two points behind the initial shot and prevailing in the tense moments to advance into the quarter-final. There were no mini-breaks in the opening six points of the first match tie break.
Zverev grabbed the second point after an extended rally before Thiem moved 3-2 in front with a drop shot winner. The Austrian placed another at 4-4 following a good serve, and the German gained a 6-5 advantage with a backhand down the line winner.
Alexander Zverev made a winning return after six months.
Alexander scored a mini-break at 6-6 and forced the rival’s mistake for 8-6. The German fired a service winner for 9-6, and the Austrian extended the battle after winning two points on his serve before the German closed the set with an unreturned serve for 10-8.
Dominic missed an easy volley at 1-1 in the second set before Alexander sprayed a forehand error in the next point for 2-2. The German placed a backhand winner in the fifth point and forced the opponent’s error in the next one for 4-2.
Thiem reduced the deficit in the seventh point, and Zverev moved 5-3 up with a crafty volley at the net. The German extended the gap to 6-3 with a service winner, and the Austrian claimed the following two points behind the initial shot to remain within one mini-break deficit.
Dominic placed a beautiful backhand down the line winner in the 12th point to pull a mini-break back and lock the result at 6-6. Alexander moved 7-6 up with an ace down the T line, and Dominic hit a double fault to fall 8-6 behind.
The Austrian fired an ace to reduce the deficit before spraying a massive forehand error and offering the German two match points. Zverev sealed the deal with a service winner at 9-7 for a winning start and his first victory after six months. Alexander will now face the 2nd seed Daniil Medvedev in the quarter-final.
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