ATP Marrakech: Jaume Munar stuns Alexander Zverev. Paire and Andujar win


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ATP Marrakech: Jaume Munar stuns Alexander Zverev. Paire and Andujar win

In the first battle of the coevals on the Tour, Jaume Munar has defeated the top seed Alexander Zverev 7-6, 2-6, 6-3 in two hours and 25 minutes for the career-best triumph. This was the 12th win for the Spaniard in 2019, leaving the struggling German on 11 after a very slow start of the season, in full contrast to what he showed in London in November.

Serving at only 56%, Jaume drew the most from his opening shot, fending off five out of nine break points and breaking Alexander four times to seal the deal with a better performance in the decider that propelled him into the last eight.

Entering Marrakech to find the form before Monte Carlo, Zverev was forced to work hard right from the start, suffering a break in game two and trailing 5-2 after a few great holds from Jaume who hit the zone to control the scoreboard.

Serving at 5-3, the Spaniard wasted a set point and the German broke back in the very last moment, saving a set point at 5-6 but dropping the tie break 7-1 after four mini-breaks he gave to Jaume. Having to raise his level, Zverev fired a forehand down the line winner in game four of the second set to open a 3-1 gap and close the set with another break in game eight following a lucky net cord.

Starting all over, Munar broke at love at 2-2 in set number three when Alexander sent a backhand wide, racing into a 5-2 lead after another poor forehand from the German and sealing the deal with a break at love in game nine to book the place in the quarters.

The struggling Frenchman Benoit Paire is through to the second quarter-final of the season thanks to a rock-solid 6-4, 6-2 win over Pierre-Hugues Herbert in an hour and 16 minutes, delivering fury from the first serve and fending off both break points to mount the pressure on the other side of the net.

Benoit did enough damage on the return to create seven break points, converting three of those to have the upper hand and score the second straight win over Pierre-Hugues. After eight good holds on both sides at the start of the match, Paire broke at 15 to grab the lead, clinching the opener after saving a break point in game ten for a 6-4.

A perfect drop shot delivered the break for Benoit at the start of the second set and he moved closer to the finish line with another break in game five for a 4-1. Herbert saved four match points at 1-5 to prolong the encounter, only until the following game when Paire hit a service winner to seal the deal and advance into the last eight.

The 25-year-old Jiri Vesely is through to the first quarter-final since Antalya last June, defeating Juan Ignacio Londero 6-3, 6-4 in an hour and 39 minutes, dropping just 14 points in ten service games and repelling both break points he faced.

The Argentinian was far from that pace, getting broken once in each set and ending his run in round two against the rival from outside the top-100. The defending champion Pablo Andujar ousted the 7th seed Philipp Kohlschreiber 7-6, 6-4 in an hour and 52 minutes, prevailing in the pivotal moments to stay on the title course.

The German faced just two break points and lost serve on both, converting only one out of six chances to suffer a loss and propel Pablo through despite a solid start. Philipp broke in the eighth game for a 5-3, serving for the opener in the following game, only to get broken at love and keep Andujar in contention.

Trailing 6-4 in the tie break, the Spaniard won four points in a row to steal the first part of the match and gather the momentum before the rest of the encounter. Just like in the opener, Kohlschreiber had his chances but it wasn't to be for him, squandering four break points in the second set and losing serve in the worst possible moment at 4-5 to hand a break to Pablo who will now face Vesely on Friday.