Zverev Opens Title Bid In Cologne With Win

STARNBERG, October 15, 2020

Alexander Zverev opened his title bid at the bett1HULKS Indoors with a comfortable second-round win over Spanish veteran Fernando Verdasco. The top seed of the ATP 250 tournament won 6-4, 6-1 on Thursday afternoon in Cologne.

Zverev was in control of the encounter, sent down seven aces, didn’t face a break point and broke his opponent’s serve four times to advance after 63 minutes.

“It is nice to be done in just over an hour, especially against Fernando because playing a first match back on hard courts against Fernando can always be tricky,” Zverev told Markus Zoecke during his on-court interview. “He is one of the most powerful opponents that you can have. I am happy to get the win and happy to be in the quarter-finals.”

Up next for the 22-year-old German, who is playing his first tournament on home soil since the Hamburg European Open in July last year, will be South Africa’s Lloyd Harris.

“[Harris] is a young guy as well, similar to my age… My brother played him once so I am going to ask my brother a few questions. It is going to be interesting,” said Zverev.

Auger-Aliassime, Bautista Agut advance

Later in the evening, No. 3 seed Felix Auger-Aliassime also booked his place in the quarterfinals. The World No. 22 from Canada eased past Swiss qualifier Henri Laaksonen 6-4, 6-1 in one hour and 17 minutes. Only 20-years-old, Auger-Aliassime will next take on Radu Albot from Moldova.

#NextGenATP Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina caused the upset of the day by knocking out No. 8 seed and 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic of Croatia. The 21-year-old Malaga native withstood 12 aces from Cilic, breaking the World No. 40’s serve three times to secure a 3-6, 7-6(3), 6-2 victory in two hours and 22 minutes.

Davidovich Fokina has reached the stage of the final eight for the first time this year and will next face Austria’s Dennis Novak.

In the final match of the day, No. 2 seed Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain beat Frenchman Gilles Simon 6-4, 7-6(5) after two hours and 19 minutes to meet sixth favourite Hubert Hurkacz from Poland on Friday.