French Open: Zverev, Nishikori, Djokovic, advance, Dimitrov out
Germany’s Alexander Zverev, the second seed, narrowly escaped an upset in the hands of Damir Dzumhur from Bosnia-Herzegovina as he won 6/2; 4/6; 4/6; 7/6 (3); 7/5. Japan’s Kei Nishikori rolled over French star Gilles Simon 6/3; 6/1; 6/3, while America’s Madison Keys powered her way to a 6/1; 7/6 (7) defeat of Japan’s Naomi Osaka.
Novak Djokovic won a pair of tie breaks in overcoming the stiff challenge of Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut 4/6; 7/6 (6); 7/6 (4); 6/2
In the match of the day, Zverev secured two breaks of serve in the first set and held the eighth game for a 6-2 result. In the second set, Zverev seemed headed for another quick ending when he broke Dzumhur’s serve in the third game and held his serve to take the fourth game for a 3-1 lead.
He fought back from 40-15 lead to deuce Damir’s serve and had the first advantage for a break but his opponent staved it off and held. From that stage, the momentum shifted towards the 26-year old Damir, ranked 26 in the world. He broke Zverev’ serve to take the sixth game and held for a 4-3 lead. In the eighth game, Zverev faced a break point at 30-40, saved it but lost on the frist advantage. Dzumhur served out the set 6-3.
Zverev opened serving in the second set but lost three points in arrow on his serve and did not recover before conceding the break in the ninth game. Dzumhur held serve routinely, but was taken to deuce before taking the tenth game and set 6-4. The second seeded player struggled to hold his serve in the first game of the fourth set while Dzumhur took his serve easily. In that pattern Zverev survived two break points to hold the third game. The set rolled on into a tie break that Zverev won by 7 points to 3.
The drama heightened in the deciding fifth set. Serving the ninth game, Dzumhur saved a break point and immediately held advantage point to win 5-4. Zverev needed to hold to remain in the match. His powerful serve put him ahead at 15-0 but the score evened to be followed by a crucial point at 30-all that he lost, to face match point at 30-40. He saved it to deuce and won the game on the second opportunity.
In the eleventh game, Dzumhur lost the first two points on serve and faced two break points. He saved one but lost. Serving for the match, Zverez was up 30-0 but dropped the next two points for 30-all. The most critical point of the match was taken by Zverev in reaching 40-30 and match point that he clinched for victory in the epic match of the day.
Zverev’s serve contributed to his narrow victory as he delivered 8 aces while his opponent made only one for the entire match. He registered 7 double faults to Damir’s 4. The difference was in their forays to the net. Damir achieved great success and won 30 of the 38 times he rushed the net while Alexander lost 38 points in his 67 attempts at net.
The match could have been shorter had the German converted the many break opportunities. In the entire contest, Zverev hit 71 outright winners and committed 73 unforced errors; mostly in the second and third sets. On the other side, Damir also delivered 71 winning shots but made 68 unforced errors.
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