World No. 3 Alexander Zverev struggled a bit in his Rome opener but was glad that he was able to win in straight sets versus Sebastian Baez. Zverev, seeded at No. 2, overcame rising Argentine Baez 7-6 (6) 6-3 to progress into the Rome round-of-16.
Zverev blew four consecutive set points in the first set tie-break but kept his focus and converted his fifth set point at 7-6 in the tie-break. In the second set, Zverev earned the first break of the match in the eighth game and served out for the match in the following game.
“I’m [very pleased], especially coming from Madrid to here," Zverev said, per the ATP website. "It’s not always not easy because Madrid is at altitude and the balls are flying like crazy, but here everything is pretty slow.
It wasn’t an easy match and I’m happy with the way I played at the end. He played three matches already here, it’s my first, so I’m happy with the win”.
Zverev wins the first meeting versus Baez
Zverev and Baez went head-to-head for the first time when they met on Wednesday in Rome.
Baez is a solid claycourter and Zverev didn't have an easy job. Meanwhile, Felix Auger-Aliassime joined Zverev on the winners' column. Auger-Aliassime was handed a tough opener in Madrid but he managed to beat Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 4-6 7-6 (2) 6-2.
“It’s a great win. Great for my confidence to be able to spend three hours on the clay. Very encouraging for what’s to come here and in Paris,” Auger-Aliassime said in his on-court interview. “I feel good physically.
I was able to battle it out with one of the best young clay-court players we have in the game right now. He’s not playing this way by accident. He’s playing really well consistently, so it’s a great win for me”.