With ninth seed Diego Schwartzman a first round loser in New York, expectations of a good run for Alexander Zverev this fortnight will mount. The German faces Brandon Nakishima for a spot in the third round. He is one of the top US up and comers, having had an impressive junior and college career prior to turning pro.
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Nakishima was a 2018 ITF Junior Masters winner and has been surging up the rankings in the early stages of his professional career. Considered to be mentally strong, the American has a nice all-court style that should serve him well in his career especially as he grows on the tour. He defeated a wily vet in Paolo Lorenzi to make it to round two, remaining always in charge against the Italian in the 6-3 6-2 7-6 win.
There would be no deep run for Kevin Anderson, who Zverev professionally dealt with in four sets. An early break in the third set allowed him to pull away after the pair had split the opening two sets. ”I am actually quite happy with a first round like that,” said Zverev. “Kevin is not someone you usually play in a first round. This is a fourth round, quarter-final, semi-final match normally against him. I am extremely happy to be through.”
With Nakishima untested against the top players on tour, this match promises to be an intriguing affair. It may be that the youngster is outclassed at this stage but he can set the tone for future US Open events with a brave performance in defeat.
Prediction – Alexander Zverev in four sets