Alexander Zverev reached the Roland Garros semi-final a year ago. The German gave everything against Rafael Nadal, with the second set tie break starting at three hours! However, Alexander injured his ankle and retired, missing the rest of the season and ending his top-10 journey for the first time in years.
The German is trying to reach his A-game again this year, hoping for a good run in Paris after dropping out from the top-60 on the Live ATP ranking list! Zverev faced Lloyd Harris in the first round and scored a 7-6, 7-6, 6-1 victory in an hour and 43 minutes.
Alexander felt pleased about a straight-sets triumph after many marathons and five-setters in Paris in the previous seven years. The German scored only one break in the opening two sets, saving two set points in the second set's tenth game and storming over the opponent in the tie break for a massive advantage.
Harris had nothing more left in the tank in the third set, suffering two breaks to propel a better-ranked player into the second round. Zverev hit ten aces and seven double faults. His second serve worked better than usual, and he saved seven out of eight break points to keep the pressure on the other side.
Lloyd lost serve three times to end his courageous campaign on the losing side.
Alexander Zverev defeated Lloyd Harris in the Roland Garros first round.
The South African found the rhythm behind the initial shot straight on, facing no break points in the opening set and keeping the pressure on the other side.
Alexander denied a break point in the third game with a service winner, and they both served well until 5-5. The German saved two break points in the 11th game to head toward the tie break. Zverev came from 3-1 down and opened a 6-4 lead after Harris' backhand error in the tenth point.
The South African saved them before spraying a forehand error at 6-7 to hand the opener to the German. Alexander erased a break point in the second set's fourth game and served to stay in it at 4-5. Lloyd created two set points, eager to level the overall score.
The last year's semi-finalist denied them with winners and made a crucial hold for 5-5. Harris netted a backhand in the 11th game to lose serve for the first time, two hours since the start of the duel! Zverev served for the set at 6-5 and faced three break points after a costly double fault.
He sprayed a forehand error to lose serve at love. Alexander started all over in the tie break and moved 4-0 up after the rival's routine forehand error. Lloyd dropped another point on serve, and Alexander claimed the breaker 7-0 with a service winner for a massive boost.
The German had the upper hand in the third set. He broke in the fourth game and delivered another at 4-1 after forcing the South African's mistake. Zverev fired an ace on a break point at 5-1 and sealed the deal with a smash winner.
"I usually play a five-setter in the Roland Garros first round, so I'm glad to win in straight sets. The conditions were not easy due to the wind. The stadium courts are even more windy than the smaller ones, and finding the balance from the baseline was tough.
We both served well without extended rallies. I would love to play even better and earn six more wins. That would be nice. Like every other player, I had ups and downs in the previous five years, but there were more ups than downs.
I have won many great tournaments, carrying special memories from them. I hope to make the next five or ten years even more memorable," Alexander Zverrev said.
Alexander Zverev gets a massive milestone: he almost did it
Alexander Zverev's reaction perfectly sums up Novak Djokovic's greatness
Alexander Zverev makes tough decision after sustaining injury versus Carlos Alcaraz
Alexander Zverev reveals injury that hampered him in loss to Carlos Alcaraz
'Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz are on another level,' Alexander Zverev opens up
US Open: Carlos Alcaraz eases past Alexander Zverev