Zverev Eases Past Ofner In Vienna For 50th Win Of 2023

Norrie overcomes Misolic, Khachanov advances
October 23, 2023
Alexander Zverev in action against Sebastian Ofner on Monday in Vienna. By ATP Staff

Alexander Zverev hit 50 tour-level wins for 2023 in style on Monday at the Erste Bank Open, where the fifth-seeded German beat home wild card Sebastian Ofner 6-4, 6-1 at the ATP 500 in Vienna.

After an even start, Zverev won 10 of the final 12 games to claim a 78-minute triumph for a 3-0 lead in his Lexus ATP Head2Head series against Ofner. The German did not face a break point and converted four of seven break points he earned to improve to 8-1 in Vienna, where he lifted the trophy in 2021.

“Obviously I’m happy to be back to winning ways after the past two weeks, which were not very positive for me,” Zverev, who arrived in Vienna on a three-match losing streak, told “In general I’m happy to be back in Europe, happy to be back in a German-speaking country. I think you always feel comfortable here straight away.”

Zverev was pleased with the way he had handled taking on a home favourite in his opening match in Austria.

“At the end of the day, tennis is tennis," he said. "You’ve got to win by playing tennis and I did well managing certain things today, but I think, all in all, the crowd here is always good and fair. They are always very energetic and loud, but I was happy with today.”

Now 50-24 for the season, Zverev will take on Cameron Norrie or Austrian qualifier Filip Misolic on in the second round as he looks to add another Vienna crown to the Hamburg and Chengdu titles he has already won this season.

The 26-year-old Zverev remains seventh in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin as he chases a Nitto ATP Finals qualification spot.

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Norrie followed on Zverev on centre court in Vienna and also overcame a home favourite, although the World No. 18 needed three sets to beat wild card Filip Misolic. Norrie won 7-6(7), 4-6, 6-3 to snap a four-match losing streak.

Misolic hit 38 winners Norrie’s 17 but was unable to outlast the Briton, who saved a set point in the first-set tie-break. Norrie is chasing his second ATP 500 crown this week in Vienna after he downed Carlos Alcaraz to claim the Rio de Janeiro title in February.

Zverev’s fellow seed Karen Khachanov also booked a second-round spot on Monday. The World No. 16 beat Roman Safiullin 6-4, 6-4 to make a winning start to his seventh Vienna campaign. The eighth seed, who lifted his first ATP Tour crown in almost five years in Zhuhai last month, will play Jiri Lehecka next after the Czech downed J.J. Wolf 6-4, 6-4.

Matteo Arnaldi continued his excellent first full year on the ATP Tour with a hard-earned victory against qualifier Albert Ramos-Vinolas on Vienna debut. The 22-year-old Italian prevailed 7-6(4), 7-6(2) to improve to 19-13 for the season. The win also lifted him five spots to No. 41 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings.

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