MUNICH, April 28, 2016
The sun has returned to Munich, creating perfect conditions for Germany’s Next Generation star Alexander Zverev, who headlined second round action at the BMW Open by FWU AG on Thursday.
The 19-year-old gained his first victory over Lukas Rosol in the pair’s fourth tour meeting after Zverev had lost to the world number 65 in Stuttgart 2014, Miami 2015 as well as at his Davis Cup debut in Hannover earlier this season.
This time on Bavarian soil, Zverev was wide awake right from the beginning. The eighth seed sent down five aces, didn’t face a break point converting two of his own to prevail in 68 minutes.
“I think that I played a good match today. It’s always great to compete in Germany. I really feel comfortable here with the crowd backing you throughout the match. That’s great,” the teenager told afterwards.
Zverev will take on Munich’s top-seed in the quarterfinals. David Goffin opened his BMW Open campaign by rallying from a set down to overcome Victor Estrella Burgos 5-7, 6-3, 6-2. The world number 13 from Belgium won 65% of his first service points and converted three of his six break point chances to seal victory in one hour and 59 minutes.
“David is a great player on his way to the top 10, it’s going to be difficult for sure,” Zverev told about his next opponent and added that his preparation against the tournament’s number one will be the same as against other opponents.
“We only played once before at an ATP Challenger event in Belgium when I was 17 and David wasn’t ranked inside the top 50 at that time. It was held indoors and the surface was very fast. So it is going to be a totally different match tomorrow.”
Meanwhile, two-time Munich champion and four time-finalist Philipp Kohlschreiber emerged victorious from the all-German-affair with Florian Mayer, winning 6-3, 6-2.
The Augsburg native, who has his practice base pretty close to the tournament’s venue, lost his serve only once and broke Mayer five times. Kohlschreiber advanced to his fifth quarterfinal of the season after 67 minutes.
“It’s a tricky start into a tournament facing Flo in the opening match. With his unorthodox style of tennis, he always forces you into difficult situations on court, but I am pleased with my performance today,” told Kohlschreiber, who only had one practice session outdoors prior to his second round match due to the bad weather.
“I had a good start putting a lot of pressure on him and everything worked out pretty well today. I arrived in Munich with a lot of confidence and I hope that it will go on like this in tomorrow’s match,” the world number 27 is looking forward to the stage of the final eight.
Kohlschreiber will face Juan Martin Del Potro for the seventh time, still waiting for his first victory against the Argentine. Del Potro outlasted Jan-Lennard Struff in a topsyturvy final encounter on centre court 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.
The 27-year-old from Tandil dominated the early stages of the match, taking the opening set in just under 30 minutes. Struff fought back, breaking the Argentine’s serve two times and took the match the distance. And again, it was Del Potro getting back to close it out after one hour and 53 minutes.
“I played much better than yesterday. Jan-Lennard was very aggressive, he hit harder than me and I did a couple of easy errors. The most important thing is winning some matches,” Del Potro told afterwards.
“Philipp will be the favourite tomorrow, in particular on this court. He won the title here two times and he is a great opponent for me. I just keep improving and then we will see.”
Earlier the day, lucky loser Jozef Kovalik, who replaced injured second seed Gael Monfils, dismissed Igor Sijsling 6-3, 6-4 to advance to his first tour-level quarterfinal after 69 minutes. Both players also went head to head in the second round of the qualifying, with the Dutch winning in straight sets back then.
Kovalik learned only on Wednesday that he made it into the main draw.
“It was good news for me but I didn’t feel well prepared. Due to the bad weather here, I didn’t practice too much, so I just went on court today and played,” the 23-year-old Slovakian told with a smile.
It was also new to him facing one opponent for a second time in the same tournament.
“It’s crazy. It has never happened to me before. I tried to stay more focused today and I played better,” the world number 139 said.
Kovalik is currently ranked on a personal career high and captured his second ATP Challenger trophy in Napoli three weeks ago.
“I have a coach with me traveling all the tournaments this season. This is something new and better for me,” the Bratislava native said about the differences compared to 2015.
Kovalik also made it into his first main draw at a major, playing the first round in Melbourne this January.
“Australia was a great experience for me. It gave me a lot to qualify for my first main draw. I hope that it will happen more often in the future,” he said.
Kovalik is Slovakia’s number four, ranked behind Martin Klizan (No. 44), Lukas Lacko (No. 113) and Andrej Martin (No. 127). Appearing for his country in the Davis Cup is still a dream for him.
“Of course I would like to play Davis Cup. I was part of the team against Romanian last year but I didn’t play. Maybe this time, but it’s always the choice of the captain, who is going to compete in the tie.”
First of all, he will stay in Munich for at least another day. Kovalik will take on the tournament’s number five Fabio Fognini in his maiden quarterfinal on the ATP World Tour. The 28-year-old Italian gained his first victory over Mikhail Kukushkin in the pair’s third tour meeting, winning 6-3, 7-5 in one hour and 26 minutes.
Austria’s third seed Dominic Thiem and Ivan Dodig will complete the last eight men standing. Both players advanced on Wednesday.