Alexander Zverev of Germany pulled a comeback in his first round against Ivan Dodig of Croatia to win it 2-6, 7-5, 6-3 in Stadium 1 at the BNP Paribas Open. Zverev was down a break in the second set but managed to dig himself out and get the momentum on his side. He will face Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria in the second round.
Dodig outduels Zverev in the first set
The first match in Stadium 1 featured the first meeting between the 79th rank Dodig and the 58th rank Zverev. The German won the coin toss and chose to receive. The German came out firing to get an early break point in the first game. Dodig would commit another error on the following point to give the German the break. Zverev consolidated the break comfortably in the next game to go up 2-0.
But Zverev didn’t have the break long as he got into trouble in the third service game of the set. At deuce, the German sent a forehand long to give Dodig a break point. He followed it with his first double-fault of the match to level the set 2-2. The Croat seemed to have settled down after a shaky start. He held his next service game at 40-15 to lead the set for the set.
It was Zverev who seemed to have lost his groove. In the following game, the German hit a double fault then a forehand long to give Dodig two break points. The Croat would end up getting a break to go up 4-2 after the German nets a backhand after a long rally.
Dodig didn’t let go of the break he had as he had no trouble closing the set at love and win it 6-3 in 33 minutes. The Croat didn’t serve well with only 58 percent of his first serves in compared to Zverev’s 70 percent. However, Dodig minimized his unforced errors to five compared with the 16 unforced errors Zverev committed.
Zverev takes the second set
In the second set, tied 1-1, Zverev needed to play two deuce points in the third game of the second set before holding serve. However, Dodig hit an injury in the last point as he slipped and in the process hit his face with his racket that caused some bleeding under the idea. He was slow getting up and called a medical timeout to tend the cut.
In the ensuing game, Dodig had little trouble, managing only to play one deuce game before holding serve to tie the set 2-2. With pressure back to Zverev in the next game, the German continued to pile up errors to give Dodig two break points. After saving one with a massive first serve, the German hit a backhand cross-court long to give Dodig the break and the lead 3-2
But the Croat couldn’t hang onto the break. Zverev came out firing, getting two break points after a volley winner. The German would fail to convert both break points. However, the German would get three more break point chances. In the fifth break point, Zverev hit a backhand winner to get the break back and level the set 3-3.
Dodig got a warning from the umpire after he hit a ball right to line judge who called a foot fault at a crucial point in the previous game. Leading 5-4, Zverev got two set points after Dodig hit a double fault. However, the Croat would save both with back to back winners. After a forehand error from the German, Dodig hit a backhand winner and managed to hold serve.
After Zverev had held serve in the next game, the pressure was back on Dodig to force a tiebreak. However, the German had the third set in mind as he got three set points right out the gate. Dodig would save one but on the next point, sent a forehand long to give Zverev the second set 7-5 in 65 minutes.
Zverev survives third set to win the match
The third set started with Dodig having two break points. But the Croat couldn't convert both and Zverev managed to hold his serve. After the first game, both players managed to hold their service games comfortably until the seventh game of the set.
On serve and Zverev was leading 4-3, he got a break point at 30-30. The German would convert it to go up a break and get a chance to serve for the match in the following game. Dodig didn't make it easy for the German to serve it out. But Zverev was too much for the Croat and won the match after two hours and 19 minutes.
The German had 64 percent of his first serves in compared to Dodig’s 57 percent. Both players won more than 70 percent of their first serves. Zverev finished with 34 winners and 33 unforced errors while Dodig had 20 winners and 27 unforced errors. The German will face Dimitrov in the next round. The Bulgarian won their only match on the hard courts of Basel.