World number 4 Alexander Zverev has had a rough start of 2018 season after a glorious run in 2017 that brought him two Masters 1000 titles. 20-year-old German lost in the third round of the Australian Open to Hyeon Chung and he has to leave Rotterdam much earlier than he expected, losing to a lucky loser Andreas Seppi 6-4 6-3 in an hour and 18 minutes. The Italian veteran lost in the final qualifying round but he found himself in the main draw and he used his opportunity well, scoring two wins to advance into the last eight on the ATP Tour for the first time since Moscow last October.
It was another pale performance from Zverev who lost almost 50% of the points in his games and who completely lost the ground after taking an early 3-1 lead in the opening set. Seppi successfully took the pace out from Zverev's shots and he controlled the points with his steady groundstrokes, moving Alexander around the baseline and forcing him to play from awkward positions.
The more experienced player prevailed in the crucial points, claiming four breaks from five opportunities he created and fending off four out of six break points to limit the damage in his games and notch the win in straight sets.
This was the first Top 5 win for Seppi since Halle 2015 when Kei Nishikori had to retire against him in the opening set and this is his best result above ATP 250 level since Halle 2016. Sascha was off to a fine start, scoring a break in the first game of the match when Andreas netted a forehand and holding at love in game two with a service winner.
Zverev found his serve from 30-0 down in game four to grab four points in a row and move 3-1 ahead but he wasted four game points in game six to let Seppi climb back to 3-3 when he threw a routine forehand long. Andreas was in troubles on serve again in game seven, fending off two break points with a service winner and a forced error from Zverev and he won his fourth straight game to move 5-3 in front.
The German lost the ground in those moments and he lost serve in that eight game after missing the opportunity to attack Seppi and impose his shots. Serving for the set in game nine the Italian netted a forehand to give his serve away and keep Zverev in contention, with an interesting game to follow.
Instead of using this momentum, Sascha got broken at love to lose the set 6-4 after yet another forehand error from the baseline. World number 4 made almost 20 mistakes in 40 minutes and he needed to shift his game into a higher gear in order to turn the match into his favor.
They stayed in touch in the first four games of set number two before Seppi saved a break point in game five, moving Zverev around the baseline and forcing a backhand error from the youngster. That proved to be crucial as Andreas broke a few minutes later to gain a 4-2 lead, winning five points in a row from 0-40 to seal Zverev's fate in this match.
The Italian needed a minute to hold at love in game seven and he served for the win two games later. Sascha won the opening two points but he just wasn't there in the most important points, failing to return three Seppi's serves to end the match on the losing side and stay on just five wins in 2018 so far. Second round result: