He had certified that he had recovered well from the fever contracted at Roland Garros, Alexander Zverev demonstrated it on the court. In Cologne, the tournament’s number one seed could not have dreamed of a much better start on Thursday. Opposed to the unpredictable and sometimes dangerous Fernando Verdasco, who made a good impression in the first round against Andy Murray, the German showed great authority to win with ease in two sets (6-4, 6- 1) and 1:03 of play. In the quarterfinals, he will be opposed to the South African qualifier Lloyd Harris.
Right off the bat, Zverev handled the day-to-day business on his serve, not conceding a single break point during the game. If he healed his percentage of first balls (66%), he was just as intractable on his seconds (85% success behind and only 2 small points lost). To give an idea of the serenity of the man, a statistic rather rare for him is to announce: he did not commit any double fault.
Verdasco can only regret having conceded his first break when he led 40/0 on his serve at 2-2 in the first set. But for the rest, he could not do anything against the opposing show of force, giving up his commitment again at the start of the second set, and only managing to save one of the last 6 games. Sometimes rightly criticized for his passivity in the exchange, Zverev made fire with any wood, in particular thanks to a very effective crossed backhand attack. The only top 10 player in contention, he is the big favorite this week in Cologne.