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Zverev makes winning start in bid for first Grand Slam title

The German came up against a spirited Carballes Baena, who is 60 places below him in the world rankings, but his powerful serve and whipped forehand sent him through in straight sets.
Last Updated : 02 July 2024, 17:03 IST

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London: Fourth seed Alexander Zverev eased to a 6-2 6-4 6-2 victory over Roberto Carballes Baena in the first round of Wimbledon on Tuesday to get his latest bid for a maiden Grand Slam triumph up and running.

The German came up against a spirited Carballes Baena, who is 60 places below him in the world rankings, but his powerful serve and whipped forehand sent him through in straight sets.

A nervy Carballes Baena had to save three break points in the first game of the match but recovered to hold. The 31-year-old sent a backhand long in the fifth game to give Zverev the break and the German broke once more before wrapping up the set in little more than 30 minutes.

Carballes Baena battled under the closed roof of Court One but had no answer to Zverev's serve which averaged around 125 mph (200 kph) and produced 18 aces.

The Spaniard was broken in the fifth game after a rally in which Zverev had Carballes Baena sprinting from one end of the court to the other.

Another battle to stay on serve woke up the crowd who tried to cheer on the underdog, but they could not prevent Zverev from closing out the set.

Zverev, runner-up at the French Open last month, broke straight away in the third but then had to save three break points as Carballes Baena increased his attacks. However, that just opened the door for Zverev to race ahead and seal the win.

The 27-year-old has never gone past the fourth round at Wimbledon - his worst record at a Grand Slam. However, he is hoping that the stars are aligning for him this time around.

"I've struggled over the years on these beautiful courts, unfortunately, but I feel different this year, somehow much more into it and more alive on these courts. Hopefully I can show that in the next few matches," Zverev said on court.

"For some reason, very early in my career I decided that I hate grass courts, then for some reasons this year, I decided that I love them. That is the biggest change.

"I also feel this is the most open Wimbledon in 20-plus years. We had great champions like (Roger) Federer, (Rafael) Nadal, (Novak) Djokovic, (Andy) Murray and it was always between them.

"It is much more open this year, if somebody has two great weeks then they can do great things. I hope, for once, it is going to be me."

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Published 02 July 2024, 17:03 IST

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