Alexander Zverev will be hoping for an easier time on Friday morning in his third round match with Damir Dzumhur. The German was pushed all the way in his second round match, one of a number of top players who didn’t have it all their own way during Wednesday’s play. A win will put Zverev in a slam fourth round for just the second time although expectations for the second seed remain much higher.
Dzumhur was close to an embarrassing loss in the previous round, eventually coming out on top in 5 sets. The Bosnian had previously led 2-0 in sets but needed to come from 2-4 down in the decider to eventually pick up the victory. The win secured his place in the third round of a slam for the third tournament running after doing so in Melbourne and New York.
Zverev was shocked by a clay specialist in Fernando Verdasco early last year and nearly suffered the same fate this time round. He eventually beat Dusan Lajovic 2-6 7-5 4-6 6-1 6-2 but things could have got much worse had he not recovered from a break down in the second set. The feat of beating Lajovic in itself is not much to shout about but Zverev deserves credit for the fightback when plenty were ready to question his mental strength at slams once more.
“Obviously, it was not my best. I know that. There are still a few things I need to work on.” the relieved German said. “Actually, in the fourth and fifth sets, I really felt good out there even though I was a little bit tired and a little bit fatigued. My serve started working better. I started playing from the baseline much better.”
Zverev could be faced with a raucous home crowd on Sunday should he and Lucas Pouille both advance. It’s another hurdle the German will need to jump over to prove that he is a legitimate slam contender on a regular basis.
Prediction – Alexander Zverev in three sets