Tennis: Fed-conqueror Zverev ramps up Aussie Open preparations


PERTH, Australia: Highly rated teenager Alexander Zverev continued his impressive build-up for the Australian Open with a straight-sets win over Dan Evans at the Hopman Cup on Friday.

Britain’s Evans beat Zverev at last year’s US Open, but he couldn’t repeat the feat against the the 19-year-old German who floored Roger Federer earlier at the team competition in Perth.

Zverev’s 6-4, 6-4 win squared the tie, after Briton Heather Watson earlier opened her account for the week with a win over Andrea Petkovic.

The German pair then claimed the tie with a 4-2, 4-2 win in the Fast Four mixed doubles. Both teams were already out of contention for Saturday’s final.

Zverev, the youngest player in the top 50 and ranked 24th, started the week with a loss to Frenchman Richard Gasquet, but his next two performances have shown why is dubbed “the future of tennis”.

On Wednesday, he upset Swiss maestro Federer in three sets in what was regarded as one of the best matches in the Hopman Cup’s 29-year history.

He broke the 66th-ranked Evans early in the first set and then controlled the match on the back of his powerful groundstrokes, winning 6-4, 6-4 in 81 minutes.

Zverev was pleased to be able to maintain his form after the euphoria of the victory against Federer.

“It was a completely different match, against Roger is always very difficult,” he said. “To kind of back it up I am very happy with it.”

Watson cruised through the first set against Petkovic, but the German looked certain to level the match when she raced to a 5-1 lead in the second.

Petkovic twice served for the set, but Watson broke on both occasions and took it to a tie-breaker, which she claimed to win in straight sets, 6-2, 7-6 (7/3).

Watson was pleased to finally record a win after her earlier losses to Belinda Bencic and Kristina Mladenovic.

“I wanted that a lot,” she said. “I woke up today thinking, ‘You know what, I’ve been playing good tennis, I’ve had some really tight matches with great players, and I just wanted to continue doing the right things’.

“My goal is to be fit and playing my best tennis in Melbourne.” AFP



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