Rome, May 11: World No 3 Alexander Zverev advanced to the third round of the Italian Open after beating in-form Sebastian Baez, here on Wednesday. The German struggled to find the form that carried him to a 10th Masters 1000 championship match appearance at the Madrid Open last week, but he found a sufficient level to outlast Estoril champion Baez and clinch a 7-6(6), 6-3 in an intriguing second-round encounter at the Foro Italico. “I’m (very pleased), especially coming from Madrid to here,” said Zverev after his 89-minute win over qualifier Baez. Italian Open 2022: Auger-Aliassime, Denis Shapovalov Move Into Third Round.
“It’s not always not easy because Madrid is at altitude and the balls are flying like crazy, but here everything is pretty slow. It wasn’t an easy match and I’m happy with the way I played at the end. He has played three matches already here, it’s my first, so I’m happy with the win,” he added. Despite a disappointing loss to Carlos Alcaraz in the Madrid final, the German looked back to his best at times in the Spanish capital after an inconsistent start to 2022 that has left the World No 3 still hunting a first title of the year. He will hope to use the victory over Baez as a foundation for another deep run in Rome, where he claimed his maiden Masters 1000 title as a 20-year-old in 2017. Italian Open 2022: Novak Djokovic Moves to Third Round With Win Over Aslan Karatsev.
Baez came out with all the confidence of a man on a six-match winning streak. The Argentine won his first 21 points on serve as Zverev struggled to fire up his return game. The German was also solid behind his delivery, however, with neither player facing a break point in the first set. Despite letting a 6/2 lead slip in the tie-break, Zverev’s extra power proved the difference as he converted his fifth set point with an ace. The second set looked to be playing out in a similar fashion as Baez continued to give little away behind his delivery, but Zverev belatedly put together a streak of top-quality returns to clinch the only break of the match in the eighth game. He served out without issue to improve his match record in Rome to 14-4. Zverev’s third-round opponent in Rome will be Alex de Minaur or Tommy Paul.
(The above story first appeared on Onhike on May 11, 2022 06:39 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website onhike.com).