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BP Oo Alexander Zverev at the Australian Open continues in Melbourne lockdown - The Times Hub

Alexander Zverev at the Australian Open continues in Melbourne lockdown

Alexander Zverev at the Australian Open continues in Melbourne lockdown

Alexander Zverev reached the round of 16 with a sovereign victory against his favorite opponent at the Australian Open.  The  German number one won against the French Adrian Mannarino on Friday in Melbourne with 6: 3, 6: 3, 6: 1 and thus survived the third round of the first Grand Slam tournament of the tennis season for the third time in a row. For Zverev it was the sixth victory in the sixth duel with Mannarino. Last year alone, the 23-year-old had won against the left-hander three times.

Alexander Zverev at the Australian Open continues in Melbourne lockdown

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“ The  duels last year were all close. I was a bit tired at the beginning, so I tried to play very powerfully from the start, ”said a very cheerful Zverev after his impressive performance. “I didn’t want you to have to sit in the heat for so long,” he said to the audience. Zverev, the last remaining German tennis professional in Melbourne, will now meet either the Spaniard Pedro Martinez or the number 23 Serb Dusan Lajovic on Sunday.

Zverev started concentrated in the Rod Laver Arena, but had to survive a tricky moment early on. When the score was 2: 2, Mannarino had two breakballs, but the German number one defended them both confidently. Instead, he took the serve from the French shortly afterwards and took the first set a little later with the first set ball.

Just a little weakness

Even in the second set, Zverev had the game under control at all times. This time nothing was noticeable of the abdominal muscle problems that had hindered him since the beginning of the tournament, especially when serving. In the first two sets, the native of Hamburg hit ten aces in his muscle shirt and didn’t give Mannarino a chance with any other powerful game. “Still, I took care of my body. But hopefully it will get better every day, ”said Zverev.

At the beginning of the third section, Zverev suffered a small phase of weakness and had to fend off a breakball in the first service game. But Zverev survived this little pressure phase, managed a break shortly afterwards and then had an easy game. After 1:43 hours he used his first match point with an ace.

Because a five-day lockdown has been imposed for the Australian metropolis Melbourne due to the corona outbreak in an airport hotel, the tournament continues without spectators for the time being. As Victoria State Prime Minister Daniel Andrews stated on Friday, the lockdown will go into effect across the state this Friday at 11:59 p.m. Schools and shops are closed during this time, restaurants are only allowed to offer pick-up food. In addition, people are only allowed to leave their houses and apartments for important things, outside their own four walls there is a mask requirement.

 The  Australian Open may continue despite the new restrictions.  The  government classified professional athletes in the group of “necessary professions”. However, from Saturday, no more spectators will be allowed on the facility in Melbourne Park for the next five days. So far spectators have been allowed, on Thursday 21,010 tennis fans had attended the games.  The  upper limit was set at 30,000 visitors per day for the first days of the tournament.

Exclusion of fans is a setback

“We will continue to work closely with the government to ensure the health and safety of everyone involved,” said Tournament Director Craig Tiley. “ The  players will spend the next five days in what is known as a bubble, just as they have been used to for months.” That means they will only commute between the facility and the hotel.

 The  exclusion of the audience means another setback for the organizers. Even before the start, the Grand Slam tournament had been influenced by Corona. Initially, more than 70 professionals and supervisors had to go into strict hotel quarantine for two weeks because there had been positive corona cases on their flights.  The n more than 500 people had to isolate themselves for about a day because a hotel employee had tested positive for the corona virus.

Alexander Zverev at the Australian Open continues in Melbourne lockdown

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“It’s tough, it’s going to be tough for everyone,” said Serena Williams, who was on Center Court, when the new restrictions became public. “We have to do what is best and hopefully everything will be fine,” said the 39-year-old American. Williams initially found it difficult in her third-round game against Russian Anastasia Potapowa and even had to fend off two set balls in the first set when the score was 3: 5.

After winning the first round she had the game under control and after 1:37 hours converted her second match point to 7: 6 (7: 5), 6: 2. Williams, who is aiming for her 24th Grand Slam title in Melbourne, will now face the strong Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka in the round of 16. Last year’s finalist Garbine Muguruza had no trouble at all in the 6: 1, 6: 1 against Sarina Dijas from Kazakhstan.

Double Krawietz and Hanfmann out in Melbourne

 The  German tennis doubles Kevin Krawietz and Yannick Hanfmann missed the round of 16 at the Australian Open.

 The  duo had to admit defeat to number eight seeded French Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut with 5: 7, 3: 6 in Melbourne on Friday. Hanfmann stood in for Andreas Mies at short notice, who was unable to play due to a knee injury. Together with Mies, Krawietz won the French Open in 2019 and 2020. According to Krawietz, Mies has now had knee surgery in Germany. “He’s only been out for six months,” said Krawietz about his double partner.

This means that Mies should also be absent for the Olympic Games in Tokyo. “

 The  Olympics will be close. It’s extremely bitter, ”said Krawietz, who, together with Mies, had set himself big goals for this year. In addition to a medal at the Olympics, the duo had come a long way in the four Grand Slams and wanted to improve their world rankings. It is not yet clear who Krawietz will play with in the coming months. “I will probably play a few tournaments with Struffi,” said Krawietz about his Davis Cup colleague Jan-Lennard Struff. Further appearances with Hanfmann are difficult because of the bad double placement of the Karlsruhe. (dpa)

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