Alexander Zverev got to work for a winning return to clay on Tuesday at the nordea open in bastad. The fifth-seeded German kept his nerve on edge to prevail 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 in the first round against Alex Molcan at the ATP 250 clay court.
Competing on clay for the first time since his career until the Roland Garros semi-finals in June, Zverev stayed sharp to fend off a Molcan comeback in the deciding set of the pair’s second Lexus ATP Head2Head meeting. The 19-time tour champion Zverev, who defeated Molcan in straight sets in the second round of their Roland Garros ran, failed to serve the match at 5-3 in Bastad, but notched a decisive break in game 12 to wrap up a two-hour, 25-minute win.
“Obviously, it’s the first match on clay after the grass season and it’s never easy,” Zverev said. “He is an opponent who plays extremely well and at the end of the day I am happy to be in the second round. That is the most important”.
Now 27-17 for the year, Zverev will face Thiago Monteiro below, as he chases his first ATP Tour crown since returning to action earlier in the year following a long-term ankle injury. Zverev, 26, reached the semifinals in his only previous appearance in 2015 in Bastad, where he came this year with a 5-2 season on grass courts.
Zverev Companion Seeds Alexander Davidovich Fokina and Sebastian Baez He could not accompany the German in the second round. slovak qualifier jozef kovalik defeated seventh seed Davidovich Fokina 6-3, 6-4, while federico coria he downed eighth seed Baez, a finalist in Bastad last year, 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(5).
Coria’s second-round rival will be a local wild card leo borgthe 20-year-old son of the ATP Tour legend bjorn borg. Competing in his third ATP Tour match, Borg scored his first win at that level by defeating his fellow Swede. elias ymer 7-6(5), 6-3 after saving two of the three break points he faced.
Top favorite and champion of Bastad 2021 casper ruud will face Alexander Shevchenko in his first match after beating world No. 96 Juan Manuel Cerundolo 6-3, 6-3. Shevchenko, 22, has already had a strong performance on clay this season, reaching the third round as a qualifier at ATP Masters 1000 events in Madrid and Rome.