Clever service placement and a willingness to attack the net helped the German to a 2-6, 6-1, 7-6(3) victory over seventh-seeded Frenchman Lucas Pouille in two hours and five minutes. It is the first time Zverev has won back-to-back matches in 2018 (6-10 record).
Largely everything Pouille hit came off in the first set, but it wasn’t without tension as he saved break points in three service games. However, his confidence and timing evaporated in the 26-minute second set, which saw Zverev take a 5-0 lead.
Zverev was left frustrated at 2-3, 30/40 in the decider when he struck a mis-timed backhand long, but he immediately worked his way back into the pair’s first FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting and in the tie-break took a 4/1 lead that proved too big for Pouille to claw back.
Last year at this historic event, World No. 11 Pouille reached his second ATP World Tour Masters 1000 semi-final (also 2016 Internazionali BNL d’Italia).
“I was giving him opportunities to break me,” said Pouille. “My level of game was not good. In the second set, he played better and I was continuing to have a poor level of game. After, he was the most aggressive player... My game was not at a good level from the beginning to the end. I didn't feel tense. I think it's just the kind of match you need to forget and move on to something else.”
In another result at the Monte-Carlo County Club, Spain’s Feliciano Lopez led 3-1 in the deciding set, but endured a tense finale against Benoit Paire of France, converting his fifth match point chance to complete a 5-7, 7-6(5), 6-4 victory over two hours and 22 minutes. Lopez will next meet countryman and No. 11 seed Roberto Bautista Agut.
Did You Know?
Mischa Zverev is appearing in the main draw of the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters for just the second time in his career. The German lost in the first round to Jiri Vesely on his main draw debut in 2017.