Australian Open 2023: Alexander Zverev beats Juan Pablo Varillas
German star Alexander Zverev reached the second round at the Australian Open after beating lucky loser Juan Pablo Varillas in five sets. The former rallied past the world number 103 4-6, 6-1, 5-7, 7-6(3), 6-4 in four hours and six minutes. Zverev secured his first tour-level win of the season. He returned to action at the United Cup after an injury lay-off.
Stats of the match
Zverev won 173 points, while Pablo Varillas finished with 23 less than the former. The former struck 69 winners compared to Pablo Varillas' 52. Zverev fired as many as 21 aces in the match, with Pablo Varillas settling with 15. Zverev recorded a win percentage of 83 and 42 on his first and second serve, respectively. He smashed the match's fastest serve (214 KPH).
Zverev recently returned to action
As stated, Zverev returned to action at the United Cup. He retired midway through the French Open semi-final clash against Rafael Nadal after twisting his ankle. He had left the court in a wheelchair thereafter. In an interview with Sky Sports, Zverev revealed that he was shattered by the status of his injury. The German thought his career was over.
Zverev returned from French Open on crutches
At the 2022 French Open semis, Nadal clinched the first set 7-6 before things stayed at 6-6 (second set). Zverev rolled his right ankle, and a wheelchair was required to get him out. He suffered a fall and hurt himself before the physio attended to him. Zverev returned on crutches, getting a standing ovation. This was a sad end to quite an incredible match.
No title for Zverev in 2022
Zverev has a win-loss record of 29-10 in 2022. However, he couldn't win a title in the season. This was the first year since his professional debut (2016) when he failed to clinch a title. He had a record-breaking season in 2021, claiming six of them. The tally included the Tokyo 2020 Olympics gold medal and the Nitto ATP Finals title.
Zverev sealed his 20th Australian Open win
Zverev will next lock horns with either American Michael Mmoh or Frenchman Laurent Lokoli. Notably, the German sealed his 20th match-win at the Australian Open (20-7). He has reached the quarter-final in the tournament only twice (semis in 2020 and qaurter-finals in 2021). In 2022, Zverev suffered a fourth-round exit at the Australian Open, losing to Denis Viktorovich Shapovalov.