Australian Open: Zverev Rolls Into The Fourth Round
Zverev manages Michelsen 6-2, 7-6, 6-2 to reach Aussie Open 4th round
While controversy continues to nip at the heels of Alexander Zverev, his third round opponent posed no conundrum. Zverev the world #6, has been accused of physical abuse by a woman believed to be the mother of his child. Several years ago, another former partner alleged the same.
The twenty-six year old German who was recently appointed to the ATP Player Council, is due to face trial later this spring. While he attempts to dodge personal questions during post-match press conferences, the former world #2 has been skirting defeat on court. In the previous round he barely survived five sets and 80 winners from Lukas Klein.
Alex Michelsen from the United States has achieved much in his burgeoning career including a tour final last July in Newport (l. Mannarino) and a career high ranking of #91. On tournament debut down under, the nineteen year old dispatched the #32 seed Jiri Lehecka in four.
In their first tour level meeting, Zverev won the toss and chose to receive. Michelsen led 40-15 but with a double fault and two additional errors, faced two deuce points but held. The German opened with a monster serve up the tee and with two consecutive aces, held to 15 to level while Michelsen gifted four unforced errors, the last off the forehand to dump serve.
Photo Credit: Alessandra Tarantino/AP/dpa
Zverev missed 4/10 first serves and after leading 40-15, faced two deuce points yet consolidated the break with a volley winner and a huge serve out wide. Michelson regrouped with two consecutive winners including his first ace and held to 15 for 2-3. The 6th seed missed 4/6 first serves but with an incredible forehand down the line, held to 30 for 4-2.
Michelsen donated three unforced errors off the ground and dropped serve when he netted another backhand volley. Zverev serving with new balls, struck two additional aces the last to seal the set 6-2 after thirty-six minutes.
The young American possesses variety and does not hesitant to come forward. Michelsen served first in the second and with an outstanding inside-out forehand, held to 15 while Zverev hit two winning forehands and held at love to level.
Michelsen gifted two backhand errors and with another dropped serve. Zverev made 4/5 first serves and with a blistering backhand down the line, consolidated the break for 3-1. Michelsen opened the fifth with a mishit forehand and faced break point but managed to hold courtesy of three consecutive errors from his opponent.
Zverev made 3/4 first serves and held at love for 4-2 and Michelson returned the favor with a love hold for 3-4. Zverev’s serve went mia and with a whiffed forehand, dumped serve for the first time while Michelsen, feeding off the energy in Rod Laver Arena, consolidated the break with two winning overheads.
Zverev serving to stay in the set, held easily to 15 for 5-5. Michelsen effortlessly redirecting the ball, held to 15 to lead 6-5 despite missing 3/5 first serves.
Zverev opened and closed with aces for a love hold to force the breaker. Michelsen won the first two points with extraordinary winners off the ground and with an inside-in forehand winner, led 4-2 when they changed ends. Zverev a two-time ATP Finals champion, held the teenager to 4 points and clinched the breaker.
The German served first in the third and held at love while Michelsen made three consecutive errors and dropped serve when Zverev ripped the forehand pass down the line.
The 2020 US Open finalist opened with a fantastic inside-out forehand and once again held at love for 3-0. Michelsen noticeably disappointed with his performance in the breaker, reset and held to 15 to get on the board.
Zverev serving with new balls put on a display with four aces and held for 4-1 while Michelsen faced double break point but held following three consecutive errors from his opponent.
Zverev opened the seventh with his 11th ace and while he gifted his first double fault, held to 15 for 5-2. Michelsen serving to stay in the match donated his third double fault and with two consecutive groundstroke errors, conceded the game, set and match.
While Zverev was in control for most of the match, Michelsen acquitted himself well in his first and most certainly not last, foray into round three of a grand slam.
Zverev hit 11 aces, one double fault and won 79% of first and 65% of second serve points. He dropped serve once and converted 5/10 break points. He consistently applied pressure when returning winning 41% of first and 50% of second serve return points.
He will, however, need to minimize the unforced errors if he hopes to progress to the quarters. Next up, the #19 seed Cameron Norrie from England. The lefty and former world #8 took out the 11th seed Casper Ruud in four to reach the round of 16 for the first time. Zverev leads the head to head 4-0; three on outdoor hard, one indoor hard and all in straights.