Zverev upset, Nishikori advances in Barcelona

Published by Tennismash

UNDER PRESSURE: Alexander Zverev stretches for a backhand in Barcelona; Getty Images
Dominic Thiem and Kei Nishikori headline the top-ranked players advancing in Barcelona, but world No.3 Alexander Zverev crashes out.

World No.3 Alexander Zverev’s shaky form continues, slumping to his fifth defeat from his past seven matches.

His latest loss hurt too – squandering a match point against world No.81 Nicolas Jarry in the Barcelona second round. The Chilean, a lucky loser in the draw, posted a 3-6 7-5 7-6(5) win against the second-seeded German.

“It means a lot. It’s one of the biggest victories of my career,” Jarry said.

“It was a really, really tough match. I was trying to get everything out of me but take in the energy from the crowd. That was amazing. I had a lot of support from a lot of Chilean guys and some Spaniards. It was a great match.”

There was no trouble for former champion Kei Nishikori and third-seeded Dominic Thiem, both easily advancing to the third round.

Thiem, a finalist in Barcelona two years ago, cruised to a 6-3 6-3 win over world No.25 Argentine Diego Schwartzman, who had to go through qualifying after missing the deadline to enter the main draw.

Nishikori, the Barcelona champion in 2014 and 2015, defeated American Taylor Fritz 7-5 6-2 to snap a three-match losing streak.

The Japanese fourth seed lost his serve early but recovered with two breaks in each set to stay in contention for his second title of the season after winning in Brisbane in January.

Nishikori is the only player other than Rafael Nadal to win the Barcelona title in the last eight years. The second-ranked Nadal, an 11-time champion in Barcelona, will play Leonardo Mayer in the second round on Wednesday.

NEWS: Nadal ready to bounce back in Barcelona

Fabio Fognini, who won the Monte Carlo title after eliminating Nadal in the semifinals, will make his debut in Barcelona against Spaniard Nicola Kuhn, who defeated qualifier Federico Delbonis 7-6(3) 4-6 6-2 in the opening round.

Jan-Lennard Struff advanced to the third round by defeating 10th seed David Goffin, who was a semifinalist last year, 7-6(3) 6-3. Spain’s Jaume Munar also caused an upset, defeating 14th-seeded Frances Tiafoe 6-4 6-3.

Fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas also advanced, with last year’s finalist defeating Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics 6-3 6-4.

In first-round results, David Ferrer began his penultimate event with a 6-3 6-1 win over Mischa Zverev, Malek Jaziri beat Guido Andreozzi 6-7(3) 6-4 6-2 and Albert Ramos-Vinolas ousted Cameron Norrie 6-2 6-2.

Millman impresses in Budapest

Last year’s finalist John Millman has made a winning return in Budapest, crushing Serbian teen Miomir Kecmanovic 6-1 6-2 in the opening round.

The No.39-ranked Australian only needed 58 minutes to advance, setting up a second-round showdown with Hungarian wildcard Attila Balazs. The No.246-ranked Balazs upset Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz 6-3 6-4.

“It means a lot to me because I played at home and a lot of friends and family came to watch me,” the 30-year-old Balazs told ATPTour.com after recording only his third ATP-level win in the past seven years.

Fifth seed Laslo Djere survived a fierce first-round test, defeating Latvian Ernests Gulbis 6-4 6-7(6) 7-6(2). Djere let two match points slip in the second set, but recovered to close out victory in two hours and 56 minutes.

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