The 6th seed Alexander Zverev made a shaky Australian Open start, losing the opening set against Marcos Giron before prevailing after two hours and 42 minutes. In round two, the German never lost serve against Maxime Cressy, firing over 40 winners to control the pace and move into the third round, despite abdominal pain that required painkillers.
On Friday, Alexander increased his level to oust Adrain Mannarino 6-3, 6-3, 6-1 in an hour and 43 minutes, landing 19 aces and keeping the initial shot intact. Feeling better on the court, the last year's semi-finalist fired 35 winners and 31 unforced errors and earned five breaks to control the scoreboard and enter the last 16.
Speaking about Zverev, Mats Wilander said he is pleased with what he saw from the German so far. Wilander praised the German and how he has been dealing with all three opponents, saying that those fast courts suit his game nicely.
Serving at 2-2 against Adrian, Alexander faced two break chances and stayed focused to grab four straight points and avoid the setback. The German clinched a break at 15 a few minutes later and secured the set with a service winner in game nine for 6-3.
Zverev converted the fifth break point thanks to Adrian's double fault to move 2-1 ahead in set number two and landed a forehand winner a few minutes later to cement the advantage.
Alexander Zverev is through to the last 16 in Melbourne, losing one set.
The German served well in the rest of the set and brought it home after forcing Mannarino's error in game nine.
Maintaining a high level, Alexander earned a double break at the beginning of the third set and moved over the top with an ace in game seven that carried him into the fourth round. "Alexander had three completely different matches, and he's dealt with them beautifully.
He is serving well, and of course, we know that his first serve is enormous. The second serve is more consistent, and he is executing them. Something has happened with his serve that is a very positive thing. The surface suits his game, as he plays better on the faster courts.
We always talk about Zverev being so far behind the baseline. The problem with that is you have to cover so much court because your opponent can hit with many angles and spin. On a faster court, the ball skids through. I think Zverev feels more comfortable when he moves closer, having a chance to overpower his rivals from there. He plays unbelievably well at the moment," Mats Wilander said.