Mischa Zverev advanced to the second round of the Australian Open with a 6-3, 7-6 (5), 6-4 win over Guillermo Garcia-Lopez. The players hadn't met since 2009 and had never previously met on hard courts before.
Zverev takes early lead behind three breaks of serve
It was Garcia-Lopez who applied early pressure, getting to deuce on the Zverev serve, but the German held his nerve to hold. He built a 0-40 lead on the Spaniard's serve in the third game and after saving the first break chance, he couldn't save the second and Zverev took a 2-1 lead as a lob from the Spaniard went long after a lengthy exchange at net.
After saving a break point in his next service game, Zverev got an insurance break to widen his lead to 5-2. Despite being broken serving for the set, the older brother of Alexander Zverev achieved his third break of the set to take the opener.
Zverev wins close tiebreak to take two set lead
After a solid hold to open the second set, Zverev stamped his authority on the match, breaking Garcia-Lopez to take a 2-0 lead when the Spaniard misfired on a forehand. A set and break to the good, the German's concentration unexpectedly slipped and the Spaniard broke back to get the set back on serve.
Neither man would have a break point the rest of the set, although Garcia-Lopez three times took Zverev's serve to deuce in the ninth game. A tiebreak would ensue and after the first four points went to the server, the next four would be taken by the returner.
With honors even so far, Zverev finally broke the deadlock, taking a 6-5 lead when a crisp backhand down the line forced a weak reply from Garcia-Lopez. He'd close out the set on the next point to take a two-set lead.
Zverev twice more breaks serve, continues solid play to advance
It was a long way back for Garcia-Lopez and the road got longer when he was broken to start the third set, the victim of a brilliant backhand stab by the German. His chance to remain in touch came in the next game with two break points on Zverev's serve, but he was unable to convert, his last chance gone.
If there was even a shadow of a doubt as to the outcome of this match, Zverev put that to rest with an insurance break to go out in front 5-2. Despite being broken in his game, he had the luxury of a second opportunity to serve out the match, which he did to love to set up a second round clash with 19th seed John Isner.