Alexander Zverev has survived another five setter as he came back from the jaws of defeat saving one match point in the process to get past the 26th seeded Damir Dzumhur of Bosnia Herzegovina in the third round of the second grand slam of the year in Paris on Friday. However the fourth seeded Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov who also won his second round match in a marathon fifth set, was not so lucky as he squandered four set points in the first set before going down tamely to the 34 year old Spanish left hander Fernando Verdasco, seeded, seeded 30. Dominic Thiem and Novak Djokovic needed four sets to advance to the round of sixteen.
The second seeded Zverev, the winner of 19 of his past 21 clay-court matches which includes titles at Munich, the Madrid Master’s and a runner up finish at Rome, led by a set and a break in the second set before Dzumhur rallied to take the next five games to even the match at 1 set apiece. Indeed he looked all set to clinch the match serving at 6-5 in the fourth set but tamely lost the twelveth game to love and then Zverev went into overdrive as he clinched the fourth set in a tie-break to extend his record to 10-2 in 2018 and then got an early break in the decider.
The Bosnian fought back gallantly and broke back and had a match point on the German’s serve at 30-40 in the tenth game which Zverev saved with a solid first serve. Once the danger was averted Zverev broke in the eleventh game and held his serve at 30 to complete a 6-2,3-6,4-6,7-6(3),7-5 win in just under four hours on court Phillip Chattrier.
Zverev awaits the winner of the match between the unseeded Russian Karen Khachanov and the fifteenth seeded Frenchman Lucas Pouille, which was suspended by light rain, with Khachanov leading 6-3,7-5,1-1, having come back from 2-5 down in the second set by claiming the next five games in a row. Another Frenchman, Gael Monfils seeded 32nd, is locked at one set apiece against the eighth seeded David Goffin of Belgium.
After dropping the first set in a tie-break, Goffin fought back to level the match which was suspended with the score reading 6-7(6),6-3,3-2. The winner of that match faces the Italian Marco Cecchinato who rallied from a set down to beat the 10th seeded Pablo Carreno Busta 2-6,7-6(5),6-3,6-1.
The 2016 champion Novak Djokovic of Serbia recorded only his second top 20 win of the year as he continues his comeback from a right elbow injury beating another Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut, seeded 13th, 6-4,6-7(8),7-6(4),6-2 in three hours and 48 minutes on court Suzanne-Lenglen. Bautista Agut, who lost his mother just prior to the Open on May 21, came from a break down in the second set and then saved three set points to level the match one set apiece.
Both players broke serve thrice in the third set as the Spaniard failed to serve out the set to take a 2-1 lead. Once that opportunity was gone, Djokovic ran away with the remainder and now goes on to meet the 34 year old Fernando Verdasco who rolled back the years to upset the fourth seeded Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov 7-6(4),6-2,6-4. The seventh seeded Dominic Thiem also dropped the second set in a tie-break but looked in control during his 6-3,6-7(5),6-3,6-2 win over the unseeded Italian Matteo Berrettini. Thiem next plays against Japan’s Kei Nishikori, seeded 19th, a 6-3,6-1,6-3 winner over the veteran Frenchman Giles Simon.
The Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki was in devastating form as she looked set to whitewash the Frenchwoman Pauline Permentier as she won 6-0,6-3 to advance into the fourth round of the women’s singles. The fourth seeded Ukrainian Elina Svitolina fell to the Romanian Mihaela Buzarnescu 3-6,5-7 in the only upset of the day. The American Madison Keys prevailed 6-1,7-6(7) against Japan’s Naomi Osaka. Other winners included the 14th ranked Russian Daria Kasatkina, the unseeded Yulia Putintseva of Ukraine and the 26th seeded Barbara Strycova of the Czech Republic.
Petra Kvitova if the Czech Republic, a two time Wimbledon champion, seeded eighth was scheduled to play the Estonian Anett Kontaveit, and the U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens of the U.S.A. was scheduled to take on the Italian Camila Giorgi in late evening matches on Friday, but will now play their third round matches on Saturday. Also in action will be the former champions Serena Williams, Garbine Muguruza and Maria Sharapova, the former world number one Angelique Kerber and the top seeded Simona Halep. Seventh seeded Caroline Garcia is the last remaining Frenchwoman in the draw, she takes on the Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu in the third round.
Following is the list of matches to be played on Day 7 with my pick mentioned first:-
Rafael Nadal (1) v. Richard Gasquet (27)
Maximilian Marterer (-) v. Jurgen Zopp (-)
Diego Schwartzman (11) v. Borna Coric (-)
Kevin Anderson (6) v. Mischa Zverev (-)
John Isner (9) v. Pierre- Hugues Herbert (-)
Juan Martin Del Potro (5) v. Albert Ramos-Vinolas (31)
Kyle Edmund (16) v. Fabio Fognini (18)
Marin Cilic (3) v. Steve Johnson (-)
– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy. You can reach him at the email: sportzcosmos@]