Watch full video: Alexander Zverev Crashes In First ATP Match Since June Injury At United Cup
Alexander Zverev, a worn-out former world number two, lost on Saturday in his first ATP match since rupturing ankle ligaments at the French Open in June. France Press Agency 12:09 PM IST, December 31, 2022 Time to Read: 2 min.
First ATP match since injury in June ends in disaster for Alexander Zverev at United Cup
Alexander Zverev, a worn-down former world number two, lost on Saturday in his first ATP match since rupturing ankle ligaments at the French Open in June. The 81st-ranked Jiri Lehecka defeated the two-time ATP Finals champion 6-4, 6-2 at Sydney’s Ken Rosewall Arena on the strength of eight double faults, giving the Czech Republic a 1-0 advantage over Germany in their matchup. Zverev exited the court in a wheelchair after suffering three right ankle ligament tears in his semi-final match against Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros. It was his first competitive match since that injury.
When Zverev withdrew from the Davis Cup in September after complaining of “severe pain,” a planned return was thwarted.
The Olympic champion, who fell from a career-high of two before his injury to number 12 in the world, was obviously still having trouble against Lehecka.
In the first set, he resisted break points at 2-3, but a double fault at 4-5 gave the Czech player a set point, which he took by landing a lob.
In the first game of the second set, the German created two break points but lost the opportunity due to some poor shots.
He was broken to fall behind 3-1 as his service failed, and despite breaking back immediately, he was unable to maintain the pressure with another double fault, allowing Lehecka to go 2-4 up and there was no turning back.
Lehecka, 21, stated after one of his best victories, “I knew before the match that he didn’t play for a long but with a talent like this, it can of course mean nothing.
“I was able to appear when it mattered most. I was confident playing against a player like him because of all the knowledge I gained from losing to excellent players last year.”
The Czech Republic was defeated 4-1 by the United States in their inaugural match of the competition, a brand-new 18-country mixed-teams event taking place in Brisbane, Perth, and Sydney. This was Germany’s first appearance.
Later matches feature 22-time Grand Slam champion from Spain Rafael Nadal and top-ranked Polish woman Iga Swiatek.
In Sydney, the second session of the day begins with Nadal against 14th-ranked Cameron Norrie of Great Britain. There have been four previous games, and Norrie has never prevailed.
At Brisbane’s Pat Rafter Arena, Swiatek, who has topped the rankings for 39 weeks, will take on Kazakhstan’s Yulia Putintseva after winning their lone prior match in straight sets.
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