Sixth seed Alexander Zverev mutilated a racket in frustration as he was forced to dig deep against Marcos Giron before reaching the second round of the Australian Open on Monday. The German, a semi-finalist last year who is aiming for a first Grand Slam title, lost a tight first set to the 73rd-ranked American before climbing to 6-7 (8/10), 7-6 (7/5), 6-3, 6-2 win.
It was a tougher task than expected with Zverev crushing his racket in anger during the second set before regaining his composure.
“He played amazing. He put me on the ropes, especially in the second set tie-break,” said Zverev, who is in the second round for a fifth consecutive year.
“I was just happy to pass. Playing the first round of a Grand Slam is never easy. My body was a little tired, I was a little tired.”
He will then meet the Japanese Taro Daniel or the American qualifier Maxime Gressy and is encouraged by the way he has improved over the match.
“For me, the longer the game, the better I started to play, and that’s something positive,” he said.
“I still felt my abs and back a bit so the serve was not at full power as usual,” he added, after being treated for low back strain in the Cup ATP from last week.
“I barely got past 210 on serve which is still pretty fast, but for me I know I can go faster than that so I had to vary it a bit.”
The 23-year-old entered the tournament after beating world number 12 Denis Shapovalov in the ATP Cup while pushing Novak Djokovic in the third set, before being beaten by fourth Daniil Medvedev.
He is looking to become the youngest Grand Slam singles champion since Djokovic won the title at Melbourne Park in 2011.
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