Sascha Says Goodbye To Service Yips, Hello To Third Round
Seventh-seeded German Alexander Zverev has advanced to the third round of the Australian Open for the fourth consecutive year – and without dropping a set - after a solid 7-6(5), 6-4, 7-5 win over 27-year-old Belarusian Egor Gerasimov.
The 22-year-old continues to put behind him the service yips that haunted him last season, when he averaged 5.9 double faults a match, second only to Benoit Paire (6.6). After serving four doubles in his opening-round win over Italian Marco Cecchinato, Zverev did not serve any against Gerasimov.
The 2018 Nitto ATP Finals champion delivered nine aces today on Rod Laver Arena and won 86 per cent of first-serve points and 68 per cent of second-serve points. He also clipped 39 winners to 25 unforced errors.
He put 77 per cent of first serves into play (down slightly on his impressive clip of 84 per cent in the first round) and lost just six second-serve points.
The 6’ 6” Zverev, who has won 11 ATP Tour titles, next will next play left-handed Spanish veteran Fernando Verdasco, who rallied from a set down to defeat Georgia’s Nikoloz Basilashvili 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-4, 6-4.
Zverev says that he feels less pressure coming into the Open than he did 12 months ago. “Last year I came in winning the World Tour Finals, beating maybe the two best players of all time in the semi-finals and finals.
“I was also kind of the only young guy still. Now you have Tsitsipas, now you have Medvedev, you have Shapovalov. Dominic is playing well but he's not NextGen anymore, something like that.
“I just think there's more young guys that are playing better. The attention is going towards them, as well, a little bit. It's a nice feeling for me, but I'm through to the third round, I'm happy about that. We'll see how the tournament goes.”
For each match he wins in Melbourne, Zverev has pledged $10,000 to bushfire relief. If he wins the title, he says he will donated the winner's cheque of more than AU$4 million.