ROME (Reuters) – World number five Alexander Zverev continued his poor recent form as he crashed out of the Italian Open in the second round after a 7-5 7-5 defeat by home favorite Matteo Berrettini on Tuesday.
FILE PHOTO: Tennis – ATP 1000 – Monte Carlo Masters – Monte-Carlo Country Club, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France – April 18, 2019 Germany’s Alexander Zverev in action during his third round match against Italy’s Fabio Fognini REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
In first-round action, David Goffin produced two blistering sets to fight back and beat Stanislav Wawrinka 4-6 6-0 6-2 while Nick Kyrgios treated the crowd to an array of his antics in a 6-3 3-6 6-3 victory over Russian Daniil Medvedev.
In the women’s draw, Serena Williams was forced to pull out due to a persistent knee injury, throwing into doubt her participation in the French Open which begins this month.
Roared on by a partisan home crowd at the Foro Italico, Berrettini took the opening three games against Zverev, before the 2017 champion and last year’s runner-up regained his composure.
Berrettini then saved five break points to take a 6-5 lead before the rattled Zverev, who beat the Italian in the same round last year, threw away the opening set with two unforced errors and a double fault.
They traded breaks early in the second before Zverev, who saved a match point in the 10th game, committed another flurry of errors, capped by a forehand into the net to hand Berrettini a memorable win.
Zverev has not gone past the quarter-final at any tournament since reaching the Acapulco final in early March.
The flamboyant and unpredictable Kyrgios again treated the fans to his best and worst as he combined spectacular shots with some poor behavior.
The Australian won the opening point of the match with what is fast becoming a trademark underarm serve and breezed through the first set before cheers from the crowd turned to jeers amid a second-set meltdown.
Having dropped serve to hand Medvedev a 5-3 lead, Kyrgios blasted a ball over the stands, turned his back to Medvedev and exchanged words with the umpire before the Russian held to force a third set.
As if nothing had happened, Kyrgios got back to business as he hammered aces and winners, having also capped some good forays to the net with confident volleys to book a second-round clash with Norwegian Casper Ruud.
Goffin dropped the opening set against Wawrinka before he blew away the Swiss in the next two, the decisive moment coming in the second game of the third when the Belgian saved a double break point at 1-0 down.
He won the next five games and although Wawrinka briefly delayed the inevitable, Goffin was able to celebrate after his frustrated opponent blazed a forehand into the crowd.
In the women’s draw, Kristina Mladenovic brushed aside French compatriot Caroline Garcia 6-1 6-2. The evening’s standout encounter pits holder Elena Svitolina against Victoria Azaraneka.
Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic; Editing by Toby Davis