Zverev Falls In Munich Opener

Alexander Zverev (photo: Florian Heer)

MUNICH, April 27, 2022

Danish teen sensation Holger Rune headlined Wednesday’s second-round action at the BMW Open by American Express, as he knocked out the tournament’s top seed and World No. 3 seed Alexander Zverev. 

In front of packed stands on Center Court of the MTTC Iphitos, 18-year-old Rune set the tone early and dictated most of the rallies with a great variety in his shots. Zverev, who was coached by Sergi Bruguera this week in Munich, showed some hesitant play and couldn’t really find a way into the match.

Rune landed 78 per cent of his first serves and capitalized on four of his 11 break-point chances. The highly-anticipated first appearance from Zverev on German soil since winning the Olympic Gold Medal in Tokyo ended after one hour and 39 minutes.

“I was incredibly nervous ahead of the match, playing in front of a home crowd for the first time this year,” said Zverev, who reached the quarterfinals or better in his last five Munich appearances, winning the titles in 2017 and 2018.

“I really don’t know what to say, I am sorry for the tournament and the spectators that I played like this today. I honestly gave my best but this has been probably my worst match in the last five or six years. I have a bit of a cold but that was not the reason.”

Asked about Rune’s performance, Zverev replied: “He won the match, but to be honest, I think I would have lost against any player of the main draw today. He is good player, he is young and he will continue to play very good tennis but it was a bad performance today.

“I didn’t really find my rhythm here over the last couple of days but today was a different level. I didn’t practice that badly. I played without a forehand and at the end of the day this is not good enough.”

Rune was understandably happy after his first win over a Top 10 player.

“It was a difficult match from the beginning,” the World No. 70 said in his on-court interview. “He’s in the top three in the world and has been playing some unbelievable tennis, especially in the past year winning so many big titles. I have a lot of respect for him, and I obviously didn’t expect to win in two sets, and with a score like this. But it was a really hard match, we played a lot of rallies and I’m really happy about my performance today.”

Rune, who clinched his fifth ATP Challenger career crown in Sanremo two weeks ago, will next take on Emil Ruusuvuori of Finland, who edged past US-American Maxime Cressy 6-3, 6-3 in one hour and 15 minutes.

In other action, Miomir Kecmanovic booked his place in the quarterfinals following a solid 6-2, 6-4 victory over Germany’s Daniel Altmaier. The No. 7 seed of the ATP 250 clay-court event won 58 per cent of the total points played to advance after one hour and 12 minutes.

“He was making a lot of mistakes at the beginning, made it easy but then he started to play better and it turned into a quite difficult finish,” Kecmanovic said.

Up next for the 22-year-old Serbian will be No. 4 seed and defending champion Nikoloz Baslashvili of Georgia, who rallied past Ilya Ivashka from Belarus 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 after one hour and 51 minutes.

Munich Moments

* Zverev did not only apologize to the his home crowd but also to the journalists during his post-match press conference.

“I am sorry to give you answers like that. It’s really difficult for me to speak right now and to find the right words,” a visibly disappointed home favourite stated.

* Asked about tennis in his home country and his rise in the ATP Rankings, Rune replied: “It’s great for tennis in Denmark. We have a couple of good players, also on the women’s side. Tennis is such a small thing in Denmark and if we can help to make it getting bigger, that’s nice. Hopefully, we will have a tournament there in the future.”

* Two-time Roland-Garros doubles champions Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies made a successful return to Germany, winning their opening match on Court 1 against Hans Hach Verdugo of Mexico and Austrian Philipp Oswald 6-4, 6-7(8), 10-6.