Alexander Zverev he didn’t get time to calm down in his opening match International BNL of Italy on Wednesday in Rome, but the second seed raised the game to defend against a strong form challenge Sebastian Baez at the ATP Masters 1000 tournament.
The German struggled to find the form that took him to his 10th appearance in the Masters 1000 championship Mutua Madrid Open last week, but found a sufficient level to outlive champion Estoril Baez and score 7-6 (6), 6-3 in an intriguing second-round match at Foro Italico.
“Yes I am [very pleased], I especially come from Madrid here, “Zverev said after his 89-minute victory over qualifier Baez.” It’s not always easy because Madrid is at altitude and the balls fly like crazy, but everything here is pretty slow. It was not an easy match and I am satisfied with the way I played in the end. He has already played three matches here, this is my first, so I am satisfied with the victory. ”
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Despite the disappointing loss of Carlos Alcaraz in the final of Madrid, the German from time to time looked back on his best results in the Spanish capital after an inconsistent start to 2022, which is why the 3rd number in the world is still chasing the first title of the year. He hopes to use the victory over Baez as the basis for another deep ride in Rome, where he won his first Masters 1000 title as a 20-year-old in 2017.
Although it was not the most fluid performance of the Beasts, the ability to hit the ball of the third player in the world was vital to help him defeat the stubborn Argentine. The German fired 28 winners over 19 opponents, according to Infosys ATP statistics.
Baez came out with all the confidence of a man in a string of six wins. The world number 37 won his first 21 points on the serve while Zverev struggled to start his return game. The German was also solidly behind in his delivery, however, no player was faced with a break point in the first set. Despite missing a 6/2 lead in the tie-break, Zverev’s extra strength proved the difference as he turned his fifth set point into an ace.
The second set seemed to go in a similar way as Baez continued to give in a bit to his delivery, but Zverev belatedly put together a series of top returns and won the only break of the match in the eighth game. He served without a problem and improved his match record in Rome to 14-4.
Zverev was pleased with the way he recovered and scored a tie-break of the first set 8/6 after missing four sets of balls. “At the end of the day, I feel like I didn’t do anything wrong,” the German said. “I had a bit of an accident, I made one unforced mistake over my head, but even those are not easy shots. In the end you have to fight until the last moment, and the first set was [very important] for me.”