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US Open: Alexander Zverev, Marin Cilic labour to first round wins

Alexander Zverev defeated Darian King 7-6(9) 7-5 6-4, while Marin Cilic prevailed over Tennys Sandgren, 6-4 6-3 3-6 6-3, in the first round of the US Open.

tennis Updated: Aug 29, 2017 12:51 IST
Reuters
Reuters
Reuters, New York
US Open,Alexander Zverev,Marin Cilic
Alexander Zverev of Germany reacts after beating Darian King of Barbados in their U.S. Open tennis tournament opening round in New York on Tuesday.(AP)

Alexander Zverev battled into the early hours of Tuesday to defeat a surprisingly troublesome Darian King 7-6(9) 7-5 6-4 at the U.S. Open.

The fourth-seeded German got all he could handle in the first set from the little-known 25-year-old, who made it through qualifiers to become the first player from Barbados to compete in a grand slam.

Dressed in knee-high socks and striped headband that recalled a 1970’s-era Bjorn Borg, Zverev looked out of synch early in the match, the booming serve that helped bring him five titles this year lacking its usual punch.

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The German was uncharacteristically wasteful in a one hour, 21 minute first set, committing 31 unforced errors, before going on to draw first blood.

“Obviously Darian came out playing really good tennis and I couldn’t find my rhythm,” he said on court after he finished the nearly three hour match with an overhead smash.

“It was an entertaining first set.”

Next up for Zverev is fellow 20-year-old Borna Coric of Croatia.

Cilic through

Croatia’s Marin Cilic started strong and hung on to win his first match since his emotional defeat in the Wimbledon final, besting American Tennys Sandgren 6-4 6-3 3-6 6-3 To reach the second round.

The 2014 U.S. Open champion moved well throughout the nearly three-hour match and appeared unhindered by the adductor injury and foot blisters that ailed him during his straight sets loss to Roger Federer at the All England Club.

“I feel just a little bit rusty,” fifth seed Cilic said in an on-court interview after the match. “I need a few matches to get in the rhythm. I was hitting some good shots and then making some unforced errors.”

Cilic ended with 57 unforced errors, many coming from his wobbly forehand, compared to 55 winners.

Sandgren, playing in just his second main draw of a grand slam, was composed throughout the match but appeared to tire as the match wore on.

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The 26-year-old American was ultimately unable to overcome the early deficit and Cilic’s powerful serve and punishing groundstrokes.

“Tennys was fighting quite hard even after I was up two sets to love. The fourth set was a battle, especially the game at 4-3.”

Sandgren sent a shot wide to hand Cilic a break and end the over 10-minute game.

Cilic cracked his 11th ace to win the match in the next game and punch his ticket to the second round.

Next up for Cilic in the second round is German Florian Mayer, a 7-5 0-6 6-3 6-4 winner over Brazil’s Rogerio Dutra Silva.

First Published: Aug 29, 2017 12:46 IST