One of the favourites for the men’s title, Alexander Zverev, seeded 6 at this year’s US Open, struggled somewhat as he battled to win his first-round match against Darian King, a 25-year-old qualifier from Barbados.
Obviously Darian came out playing really good tennis and I couldn't find my rhythm. It was an entertaining first set Alexander Zverev
Bringing the first day’s play to and, the two battled for two-hours and 49-minutes in the second of the evening matches, securing his 7-6(9) 7-5 6-4 victory, his 12th in a grand slam, at 2am on Tuesday morning!
Zverev was made to world hard, especially in the first set, and made a series of errors as he tried to find his serve saving 10 break opportunities against him.
In contrast he broke King four times from 11 chances to win through without dropping a set.
It didn’t start well for the German as he was broken in the third game of the opening set and then seeing his opponent take a 3-1 lead and nearly slipped further behind but he turned the tables in the fifth game and seventh game to stride into a 5-3 lead.
Serving for the set, Zverev got broken again as his frustrations mounted. Another three break points were saved in the 11th game and failed again to secure the set in the next game when he had a set point against his West Indian opponent. King held on for the tie-break which proved just as topsy-turvy as the previous games with the breaker seeing 11 mini breaks with King missing two set points until finally the sixth seed claimed the set 11-9 on his fourth opportunity.
The second set fared better for Zverev whose serve was now making an impact on the match as he lost just six-points in six games though King remained tenacious, hanging on for an opportunity to turn the tables. Unfortunately he lost his serve in the 11th game allowing his higher ranked opponent to go into two-sets to love lead.
In the third he took full command of the match breaking in the third game and opening up a 5-3 lead and finishing it off two games later with an overhead smash.
“Obviously Darian came out playing really good tennis and I couldn’t find my rhythm,” said Zverev who sported an exciting outfit reminiscent of the Borg era. “It was an entertaining first set.”
Next up for Zverev is Borna Coric of Croatia.