INDIAN WELLS, UNITED STATES (AFP) – World number three Alexander Zverev (AFP pic below) crashed out of the ATP Indian Wells Masters yesterday, stunned in his opening match 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (7/2) by 39th-ranked American Tommy Paul.
After dropping a first set in which Paul mercilessly punished his second serve, Germany’s Zverev leveled the match with the only break of the second set in the 10th game.
After holding his serve to love three times and breaking Paul in the sixth game of the third Zverev appeared to be heading for victory.
But the German immediately served four double faults to hand the break back and Paul dominated the tiebreak with the same aggression he showed in the opening set.
“I played a really high level today,” said Paul, who notched the biggest win of his career. “I knew how I wanted to play him, so I came out and executed it well.
“It got kind of crazy there in the second set, and I got lucky a little bit in the end, but I played well when it came down to the breaker, so I’m pretty happy with my performance.”
Zverev was playing his first tournament since he was disqualified from the Mexico Open in Acapulco after losing his temper and repeatedly smashing his racquet into the umpire’s chair.
The 24-year-old Tokyo Olympic gold medallist was fined USD40,000 for verbal abuse and unsportsmanlike conduct. A further USD25,000 fine and an eight-week ban were suspended provided he does not incur a further code violation for 12 months.