As David Ferrer was forced to withdraw with an injury, lucky loser Marcel Granollers took his place in the draw. He was up against young Alexander Zverev for the first time, with both having the chance to progress to the third round here at Monte Carlo for the first time.
It was Granollers who made headway first grabbing the first set after some poor serving from the German. Zverev then came to life in the second set to force it to a decider. In the end it was 30-year-old Granollers who triumphed against his younger opponent 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, setting up a clash with David Goffin.
Granollers edges the first set
Granollers started the better of the two, capitalizing on a poor start from Zverev to go 3-0 up. The young German shook off the slow start to hold his service game for 1-3. Granollers then faltered handing three break back points to Zverev. The lanky teen needed no second invitation converting at the first offering to get the break back before leveling for 3-3.
The momentum had clearly swung to the German who then broke once more winning his fourth game in a row to lead for the first time 4-3. The Spaniard though was not giving up without a fight and had double break point opportunity in the eighth game. Zverev was only able to save one as the set got back on level terms for 4-4. As Granollers edged for 5-4, the pressure to hold to stay in the set got to the German, allowing the Spaniard to grab the first set 6-4.
Zverev fights back
The second set was a tighter affair compared to the first. They had chance to break each other’s serve in the first two games. Both players though dug deep to hang on for 1-1. The set then progressed on serves and the first breakthrough was made by the German in the seventh game. Zverev pounced on his only chance to lead 4-3.
The following game turned out to be a mammoth game. Granollers was pushing the young German who was fighting hard saving break point after break point. However, Zverev eventually succumbed as the Spaniard found a way on his fourth chance to level the set 4-4. The 18-year-old though took advantage after the long game to break for 5-4 and went on to wrap up the set 6-4.
Granollers finds a way
The third set saw a cagey start as both players lost their first service games. As the players settled into their groove, the Spaniard was seemingly holding his serves with more ease than the German. Zverev had to play a few more points before he was able to close his games.
With the score at 4-3 to Granollers, the Spaniard kept working Zverev in another long game. This time Granollers was able to work out a break point before capitalizing on his only opportunity to get the crucial break for 5-3. The lucky loser went on to close out the set and victory, progressing to the third round for the first time.
Overall it was poor serving statistics from the German who only got in 46 percent of his first serves compared to Granollers who got in 59 percent of them.
Even though Zverev had better break point conversion rate converting five out of six chances, he was broken six times by Granollers who had 12 opportunities.