Zverev Off To Winning Start In Brisbane

Ebden beats #NextGenATP Tiafoe in first round

Mischa Zverev made a winning start to 2018 with an 88-minute victory at the Brisbane International presented by Suncorp on Monday. The eighth seed broke the serve of Australian qualifier John-Patrick Smith on five occasions to record a 6-4, 7-5 victory.

Home spirits had been lifted earlier in the day after Matthew Ebden triumphed 6-3, 6-2 in his meeting with #NextGenATP contender Frances Tiafoe. The Australian produced a perfect record on his second serve return in the first set (100 percent) on his way to setting up an all-Australian second-round meeting against fourth seed Nick Kyrgios.

Looking forward to that battle, Ebden spoke of his opponent’s greatest strength and how his own previous experiences may help on the day.

“Nick has obviously got a great serve," said Ebden. "That's one of his biggest weapons that carried him through well over the past few years, with the upsets and good results that he's had. He's obviously good around the court. He moves well for a big guy.

“Last year I played [Ivo] Karlovic, I played [John] Isner, these kind of guys. So I wouldn't say Nick's serve is maybe as big or as tall as those guys', but he's obviously very accurate and uses it well."

Horacio Zeballos also got his new year off to the best of starts with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Ernesto Escobedo. The Argentine dropped just six points on his first serve in the 72-minute encounter with the World No. 120 and moves into a second-round encounter against Alexandr Dolgopolov.

In the final quarter of the draw, there were wins for Americans Ryan Harrison and Jared Donaldson.

Harrison fought his way past Leonardo Mayer 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 and will next face second seed Andy Murray, who is returning from a six-month injury lay-off. Donaldson managed to secure his place in the next round with a 6-4, 6-2 win over last year’s quarter-finalist Jordan Thompson. The 21-year-old awaits the winner of Tuesday’s match between Damir Dzumhur and Denis Istomin.

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