Hoping to avoid an early slam loss, Alexander Zverev will have to be alert against his opening round opponent Kevin Anderson. The big serving South African does look to be winding down his career but as a two time slam finalist, he may still have the tactical nous to trouble much younger opponents on the tour.
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Anderson was as high as No.6 at the beginning of last year but a number of injuries over the past year have led to him plummeting to outside the top 100, and seemingly making a huge impact on his game. He has played just eight matches in the past 12 months, having had a lengthy injury layoff following his surprise Wimbledon loss to Guido Pella last year. He returned at the Western & Southern Open, picking up a good win over Kyle Edmund before losing comfortably to Stefanos Tsitsipas in the next round.
Having lost to another veteran in Andy Murray at Cincinnati/New York, Zverev will be eager to bounce back against Anderson. The German will likely be eager to get back to playing tennis having come in for good amounts of criticism with regards to his perceived irresponsibility during Novak Djokovic’s Adria Tour event. Zverev did have his best US Open last year, making the fourth round although a loss to Diego Schwartzman does remain somewhat disappointing for him.
It will be interesting to see what Zverev learns from his new coaching partnership with David Ferrer. While he will not be present in New York, he has had positive words about the Spaniard from their early moments of working together. “He is exactly how he was on court. He is like that as a coach. I can’t ask for more,” said Zverev. “He was known as the biggest fighter, the biggest competitor in the world… He is overachieving every single expectation I had of him as a coach. It is amazing.”
Prediction – Alexander Zverev in four sets