Down a break at 5-2 in the second set, Alexander Zverev could have thrown his eyes to the apparently inescapable third set against Robin Haase on Monday at the NOVENTI OPEN.
In any case, the German maintained his attention on what was before him, and didn’t have to mess with a third set. The double cross Halle finalist (2016, 2017) beat Haase 6-4, 7-5 to make the second round at the ATP 500 occasion.
“This is probably one of my favourite tournaments and I’m always motivated here. Last year, I played with an injury here and lost first round and this year I really want to do well. I hope this was a good start for a good tournament for me,” Zverev said.
Zverev uncovered himself from underneath inconvenience to serve for the match at 6-5 in the second set, yet required more heroics to fight off the Dutch veteran. The second-seeded Zverev spared two break focuses while serving at 6-5, including one during a 41-shot rally that Haase finished when he splashed a strike wide.
Zverev tumbled to compatriot Florian Mayer in the 2016 last and Roger Federer in 2017. Federer, a nine-time champion, is again the top seed at the grass-court occasion.
The 22-year-old Zverev will next face American Steve Johnson, who finished a three-coordinate losing streak by beating Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3, 6-3. Johnson hit 13 experts, won 85 percent of his first-serve focuses (29/34) and never confronted a break point.
“He is someone who has an unbelievable serve, a very good grass-court game. He has won a [couple] tournaments on grass. He has a good forehand and a very good slice. He beat Philipp in straight sets, which also tells a lot,” Zverev said. “It won’t be an easy match but there are no bad players here. Therefore, there aren’t any easy matches here.”