For the third time this season (Indian Wells and Halle), world number 4 Alexander Zverev is forced to leave the tournament after the opening match, suffering a 5-7 6-4 6-4 loss to Robin Haase to hit the exit door in Cincinnati after the opening match for the fourth straight year! Alexander failed to defend the title in Toronto last week and he was hoping to add some points to his tally here in Ohio since Frances Tiafoe halted him in the second round in 2017 but that will not happen.
The German has won the title in Washington two weeks ago but he will not be pleased with his performance at Canada Open and Cincinnati, wasting match points and a huge lead last week against Stefanos Tsitsipas and falling to Haase for the second time in a row after Paris 2017.
The match lasted two hours and 25 minutes and Haase managed to recover after the opening set to grab his 31st Masters 1000 win and notch only his second victory in Cincinnati. Both players struggled to find the first serve and it was Zverev who created more break points, converting only five from 14 and giving his serve away six times from seven chances he offered to Robin.
They won 101 points each but it was Haase who had the edge in the closing stages of the match to emerge as a winner and advance into the third round. They traded breaks in the opening two games of the match and Sascha moved 3-1 ahead with a break in game four, only to get broken at love in game seven to bring Haase back into contention.
The set was decided in the 12th game when Zverev broke his rival at love, taking the opener 7-5 and hoping for an easier job in set number two. Instead of that, Robin raced into a 4-0 lead and he made three good holds after that to clinch the set 6-4 after a hold at love in game 10, building the momentum for the decider where he broke in the very first game to continue his run.
Zverev wasted four break points in the following games to find himself 4-2 down before he finally broke back in game eight to set up an interesting closure of the match. It wasn't to be for the German, though, getting broken in game 11 and wasting two break points in the next game before Robin sealed the deal on his second match point for his seventh Top 10 win. Second round result: