World no. 3 Alexander Zverev had to work hard in the Roland Garros second round. The German claimed his 20th victory in Paris following a thrilling 2-6, 4-6, 6-1, 6-2, 7-5 triumph over Sebastian Baez in three hours and 36 minutes.
The Argentine opened a massive advantage on Court Philippe-Chatrier and had a match point in the decider. He squandered it and dropped the set 7-5 to propel one of the favorites over the finish line. The last year’s semi-finalist trailed two sets to love after a poor performance, like many times at Majors.
Zverev raised his level in sets three and four to topple a lower-ranked rival and gain momentum ahead of the decider. Baez led 4-2 in the final set before Zverev pulled the break back and fended off a match point on serve in the tenth game.
The German claimed five of the last six games to emerge at the top and advance into the last 32. Alexander scored his 17th win in 27 five-setters, including eight out of nine at Roland Garros. Zverev converted seven out of 11 break points and defended eight out of 13 break chances to prevail.
Alexander Zverev saved a match point against Sebastian Baez.
They had a similar number of winners and errors, and Alexander had the upper hand in the shortest range up to four strokes. Baez erased the deficit in the mid-range exchanges, and Zverev prevailed in the most extended ones.
Alexander sprayed a forehand error in the encounter’s opening game to suffer a break. The Argentine dropped only six points in his games to control the pace and keep the pressure on the other side. Baez grabbed the second break with a backhand crosscourt winner in game five and held with a service winner at 5-2 for an impressive opener.
Both players dropped 13 points behind the initial shot in set number two, and Sebastian turned them into two breaks and a 4-0 advantage after only 15 minutes! Alexander defended three break points in the fifth game to avoid a bagel and gain some confidence.
Baez got broken for the first time in the sixth game, but he served well in the rest of the set and fired a forehand winner at 5-4 to open a 6-2, 6-4 advantage in 81 minutes. Zverev raised his level in the third set, produced a couple of fine holds and grabbed a break in the second game for an early advantage.
Alexander broke again in game six to forge a 5-1 lead, saved a break point in the next one and wrapped up the set 6-2. The German had the upper hand in the fourth set, taming his strokes nicely and overpowering the rival to force a decider.
Alexander broke Sebastian in games one and five and held with a service winner for 5-1. Zverev fended off a break chance while serving for the set in game eight and clinched it to introduce a decider after two hours and 32 minutes.
Alexander wasted game points at 2-3 and got broken after Sebastian’s strong attack to fall 4-2 behind. The German broke back in the next one to return to the positive side and faced a match point at 4-5. Zverev denied it with a service winner and grabbed a crucial break in game 11 after Baez’s backhand mistake. Alexander served for the win at 6-5 and fired a service winner to emerge at the top and avoid an early exit.