Sat, Aug 04, 2018 - Page 16 News List

Alexander wins battle of Zverevs

LOSE-LOSE:Andy Murray was in tears after his victory, but they were not only of joy — the game ended at 3am, giving little rest time before his quarter-final yesterday


Alexander Zverev, back, hugs Mischa Zverev after defeating him at the Citi Open in Washington on Thursday.

Photo: AP

Alexander Zverev on Thursday got the better of older brother Mischa Zverev at the Citi Open in Washington, winning their first meeting at an ATP Tour event 6-3, 7-5.

World No. 3 and top seed Alexander, 21, broke Mischa, 30, three times en route to a victory that sets up a quarter-final with seventh seed Kei Nishikori, who dispatched Canadian teenager Denis Shapovalov 7-6 (7/1), 6-3.

Despite the loss, Mischa Zverev said it was a match he would always remember.

“After the coin toss I had tears in my eyes because it felt so special,” he said. “I wondered what are my parents thinking right now. I needed a few seconds to bite my tongue and focus.”

The younger Zverev said he hoped to see his brother across the net again in the future.

“I hope this is not the last time. I hope we play a final one day,” said Alexander Zverev, the tournament’s defending champion.

Meanwhile, Andy Murray broke down in tears after coming from behind to defeat Marius Copil 6-7 (5/7), 6-3, 7-6 (7/4) in a marathon third-round match that lasted more than three hours until 3am.

Murray overcame 20 aces by Copil to advance to the quarter-finals, where he is to face Australian Alex de Minaur.

The 31-year-old Scotsman won his third three-set victory in four days, having been on the court for 8 hours, 11 minutes in all, and he started at midnight thanks to a fourth day of rain delays.

“I don’t think I should be put in a position like that,” Murray said. “I’ve had a few long matches. Finishing matches at three in the morning isn’t good for anyone involved in the event: players, TV, fans, anyone.”

“When you’re expected to come back and perform the next day, I think that’s unreasonable,” he added. “That’s something the tour needs to look at.”

The British star said he was unlikely to finish post-match conditioning and get to sleep before 5:30am, ahead of yesterday’s quarter-final.

“Not playing, potentially, is possible. I don’t know how players are expected to recover from that,” Murray said.

Earlier in the evening, second seed John Isner was upset by fellow American Noah Rubin 6-4, 7-6 (8/6) in the second round.

Isner, last month’s Atlanta Open champion, appeared fatigued during the match, perhaps owing to a busy last month, when he played 10 matches consisting of 34 sets and 403 total games.

The win over world No. 9 Isner was the 22-year-old Rubin’s first over a top-10 opponent.

However, due to earlier rain delays, Rubin had to play 20-year-old Russian Andrey Rublev later on Thursday, when he fell 6-3, 6-2.

In the women’s singles, unseeded Pole Magda Linette upset third seed Naomi Osaka 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 to reach the quarter-finals.

Linette’s pinpoint serving, punishing groundstrokes and deft drop-shots proved the difference in her first career meeting with the 20-year-old Indian Wells champion.

“I’m very happy because it was really tough,” Linette said. “I knew that at some point she would come back and I just wanted to keep playing aggressive, and even though I missed some shots in the second set, I just tried to stay aggressive and somehow I came back.”

Next up for Linette was to be seventh seed Donna Vekic, who beat Fanny Stollar 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (15/13) earlier in the day.

“I’ve played [Vekic] in practice a couple of times and she’s an extremely competitive player,” Linette said. “I expect a really tough match tomorrow and I just hope I can play as good as today.”

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