Zverev into the round of 16 after a moment of shock – Altmaier out
After a weak start, Alexander Zverev turns up and makes it to the round of 16 of the French Open. The Olympic champion experiences a moment of shock. The hoped-for German duel does not come about.
Paris. Alexander Zverev roared his joy with his mouth wide open. In a night shift, the tennis Olympic champion fought his way into the round of 16 at the French Open.
The 26-year-old defeated the American Frances Tiafoe after a weak start in 3:41 hours 3: 6, 7: 6 (6: 3), 6: 1, 7: 6 (7: 5). Zverev only converted the match ball 18 minutes after midnight. He is in the top 16 for the sixth time in a row at the classic clay court in Paris and now meets Grigor Dimitrov.
The world number 29. from Bulgaria easily defeated Daniel Altmaier 6: 4, 6: 3, 6: 1 and thus prevented a German round of 16 duel. The 24-year-old Altmaier could not build on his outstanding performance in the five-set crime thriller victory in more than five hours against the Italian title contender Jannik Sinner.
Moment of shock for Zverev in the third set
For the second time in a row, Zverev was allowed to work in the largest stadium of the Stade Roland Garros in the evening – and had to survive a moment of shock on the accident site. Almost at the point where he badly injured his ankle in the semi-final against Rafael Nadal 2022, he slipped in the third set. However, Zverev quickly got back up and shook off the sand.
At the beginning, Zverev made far too many simple mistakes and was also passed several times by the American during the network attack. With a double fault, Zverev gave up the first set after just 38 minutes. Right at the start of the second round, he took his opponent’s serve for the first time, cheered on the crowd and held his finger to his ear.
But Tiafoe also relied on emotions. After the re-break, the 25-year-old shook his shoulders and was celebrated. But Zverev remained stable and secured the sentence with nerves of steel. In the first game of the third round, which lasted more than ten minutes, the former world number two gave up his serve again, but won the next six games in a row.
In the fourth set, the master fireworks from Paris Saint-Germain resounded from the Prinzenpark, only 800 meters away, to the Court Philippe-Chatrier – there the spectators in the stands celebrated with the wave. Zverev was already 3: 5 behind, but came back again – and again made the victory perfect in the tie-break.
Altmaier without energy
Altmaier, on the other hand, lacked energy two days after his big coup. It was emotionally and physically difficult to process the previous match. “At the end of the day, you’re only human and can learn from it. If it then hopefully becomes reality week after week to play against these top guys, it will hopefully be natural,” said the Kempener and rated his tournament and the work of the past few weeks “very positively”: “There are still a lot of construction sites, but we have already had nice moments.”
Altmaier thus missed the repetition of the greatest success of his career, when he had also reached the round of 16 at the classic clay court in Paris in 2020. Back then, too, he had first beaten a top ten player in Matteo Berrettini and was then eliminated in three sets. By reaching the third round, Altmaier will at least improve significantly from 79th place in the world rankings.
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