Alexander Zverev Dodges Dominik Koepfer Challenge To Reach Second Round In Halle | ATP Tour


Third seed Alexander Zverev navigated past a tricky opening test against fellow German Dominik Koepfer to win 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 on Tuesday to move into the second round of the NOVENTI OPEN in Halle. 

Zverev had to make a quick turnaround after reaching his first Roland Garros semi-final on Friday (l. to Tsitsipas), capping off a successful clay-court season in which he also lifted the trophy at the Mutua Madrid Open in May. 

The German has lifted 15 trophies on clay and hard courts, but is seeking his first on grass after previously reaching two finals in Halle in 2016 (l. to F. Mayer) and 2017 (l. to Federer). 

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“I didn’t feel well on the grass yet. This is my third day on it, but for a good reason because I played pretty well in Paris,” Zverev said in an on-court interview. “There is still a lot of work ahead of me, but I’m definitely happy to get the win.” 

Zverev fired 29 winners and 29 unforced errors against Koepfer, who struck 15 and 28, respectively, to improve to 2-0 in their ATP Head2Head record. Zverev took down Koepfer earlier this year on his way to the Acapulco title, in a memorable match during which the pair played through a 5.7 magnitude earthquake

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Their second tour-level clash wasn’t quite as earthshaking, but still featured plenty of drama as Zverev went down an early break in the first set and dropped the second set to Koepfer. The No. 6-ranked German’s big serve was firing, especially in the third set where he only dropped a total of three points in his service games.

Zverev and Koepfer were still locked on serve deep in the third set, before Zverev fired a zinging passing shot at 4-3 to convert his second break point and serve for the match. He set up match point with a powerful forehand approach shot before clinching his spot in the second round after an hour and 47 minutes. 

He awaits the winner of Ugo Humbert and Sam Querrey next for a spot in the Halle quarter-finals.

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