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Alexander Zverev narrowly wins the second round of the Australian Open

Alexander Zverev narrowly wins the second round of the Australian Open

AAs Alexander Zverev sat in a press conference room in Melbourne on Thursday and asked the first question, the tennis player briefly looked away. “If he was sitting here before the game,” Zverev said of his opponent, who had previously made life difficult for him for so long: “Then I wouldn't have recognized him.”

As well? Lukas Klein from Slovakia has not been noticed so far on tour. He is ranked 163rd in the world and will play premierships on the second tier Challenger Tour in 2023. Last year at Wimbledon, he made one Grand Slam appearance and lost in the first round. Maybe who noticed that?

“That's how tennis is sometimes.”

Zverev won't forget Klein anytime soon. In any case, he had enough time to memorize the face of the person he was talking to. His second round match against the Slovak lasted four and a half hours. In the end, Zverev narrowly won in five sets 7:5, 3:6, 4:6, 7:6 (7:5), 7:6 (10:7) as he was ultimately the man. Strong nerves and in the tie – the break of the fifth set was able to rely on his serve.

For better or worse, the German later had to admit something: it easily turned out the other way. His opponent scored as many points as him and was the more active player at many points. “He probably deserved it more than me today, but that's how tennis is sometimes,” Zverev said.

Germany had already lost in the second round against last year's qualifiers. But at that time he was coming back from a long injury break. This year, Zverev appeared to be in much better shape ahead of his first Grand Slam of the year and was already seen by some as a secret favorite for the title. But against Dominik Koepfer in the first round and now against Klein, Zverev is yet to win in title form.