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ACAPULCO: Germany’s Alexander Zverev hits a return against Germany’s Daniel Altmaier during the Mexico ATP Open 500 men’s round of 32 tennis match at Arena GNP Seguros in Acapulco, Guerrero, Mexico. – AFP
ACAPULCO: Germany’s Alexander Zverev hits a return against Germany’s Daniel Altmaier during the Mexico ATP Open 500 men’s round of 32 tennis match at Arena GNP Seguros in Acapulco, Guerrero, Mexico. – AFP
Top seed Zverev crashes out of Mexico Open first round
Medvedev makes winning return after Australian Open final loss

ACAPULCO: Top seed Alexander Zverev tumbled out of the Mexico Open at the first hurdle on Tuesday, eliminated by German compatriot Daniel Altmaier in three sets. Zverev, winner of the Acapulco tournament in 2021, was sent packing 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 in 2hr 28min by world number 57 Altmaier.

After sharing the first two sets, Altmaier took control of the third set with an early break to take a 2-0 lead before holding for 3-0. Zverev missed opportunities to break back in the fifth and seventh games, unable to convert any of three break points and Altmaier served out to clinch victory and set up a second round meeting with Serbia’s Miomir Kecmanovic.

In other games on Tuesday, Australia’s Jordan Thompson was brought back down to earth after losing his first round match just two days after winning the first ATP title of his career. Thompson, who went on a giant-killing run before defeating Casper Ruud to win the Los Cabos Open final on Sunday, was ousted in three sets by American qualifier Aleksandar Kovacevic, losing 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 in 2hr 42min.

Kovacevic will play Holger Rune in the second round after the Danish second seed cruised past Michael Mmoh 6-2, 6-3 earlier Tuesday. Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas, the fifth seed, eased past Russian Roman Safiullin 6-3, 6-4.

Tsitsipas will play Italian qualifier Flavio Cobolli in the second round. “It’s one of those first rounds that you get good opponents and a very good, strong start from the beginning of the tournament,” Tsitsipas said in an on-court interview after his win. “I knew that dealing with Roman, he’s someone that can play good on these kinds of surfaces. He takes the ball early, pushes you back.

“That was the main thing I had to deal with today, which I did pretty well.” Meanwhile, Sunday’s beaten Los Cabos finalist Ruud, the sixth seed in Acapulco, needed three sets to overpower Christopher Eubanks, eventually winning 6-4, 6-7 (5/7), 6-3.

American eighth seed Frances Tiafoe defeated Australia’s Max Purcell 4-6, 6-3, 6-0, and now faces Germany’s Dominik Koepfer, a 6-4, 4-6, 6-0 winner over France’s Terence Atmane.

Meanwhile, Daniil Medvedev returned to action for the first time since his Australian final defeat on Tuesday with a straight sets win over Alexander Shevchenko in Dubai. Elsewhere 18-year-old Jakub Mensik beat Borna Coric 48 hours after becoming the youngest finalist at a tour event since 2021, in Doha. The man who ended the Czech teenager’s dream run in Qatar on Sunday, Karen Khachanov, was also among the round of 32 winners.

World number four Medvedev got his title defence at the hardcourt ATP 500 event up and running, overcoming Shevchenko 6-3, 7-5. The Russian top seed shrugged off his month-long absence - part holiday, part injury - breaking his Kazakh opponent in three consecutive return games in the first set before reeling off four games in a row from 3-5 in the second set to complete an 88-minute triumph.

In January, Medvedev reached his second Australian Open final. He lost to Rafael Nadal in the Melbourne decider two years ago, and this time had to settle for second best in the season’s opening Grand Slam to Jannik Sinner. He was forced to skip his title defence in Doha last week because he was dealing with a number of physical issues — with his foot, adductor, and shoulder. “In general, to be honest, I am happy with my level, because it is not easy to come back after an injury.

“You always try to straight away put your game back, but its not easy and I’m happy to beat such a good opponent and am looking forward to the next round,” said Medvedev courtside. He added: “When you take a week or two off, but it’s something you planned, then it’s kind of easy tennis-wise, just a couple of points or games to get back.

“I did take a week and a half off by myself and then when I came back I started feeling pain here and there, not practising 100 per cent. “It’s very tricky, because when you come into a match you have to forget about it and when you think about something other than tennis you are going to lose the match.”

Medvedev will meet next Lorenzo Sonego after the Italian dispatched wild card Sumit Nagal of India 6-4, 5-7, 6-1. Mensik let slip a match point and then saved one in his 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (9/7) victory over Coric to book a date next with Spain’s world number 24 Alejandro Davidovich Fokina. — AFP

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