The match of the day on the opening day at the 27th NOVENTI OPEN really was worth its name. Alexander Zverev and Robin Haase got the audience off their seats numerous times with their outstanding performance. That the German won in two sets in the end, seemingly without a problem 6:4, 7:5, was not at all clear during the match.
Twice Zverev got to the finals in Halle, twice he lost. This year, he wants it to be different. But nearly he came of course against Haase from the Netherlands. He stumbled a few times, once even skidding and falling so badly it looked as though he would have to pull out of the match because of knee injurie. His opponent was concerned and even brought him a cushion, to rest his head on while they waited for the physio to arrive. Zverevs coach Ivan Lendl was also looking on quite concerned from the box.
But thankfully it was ok. Zverev could play on – in the match of wasted chances. Haase had 11 chances to break, only used two, Zverev had 14 and could bring it to four breaks in the end. The player from the Netherlands had a good match plan against the favourite. He returned the strong serves precisely, took the danger out of the strong baseline shots by slices and stops. And ran along the baseline with great speed.
After winning the first round Zverev lost his rhythm. Haase broke, was in the lead 5:2 in the second set. But the German had the will to win. He got into the match and fought back with genius shots. At times Haase was just left to look on. Even the very stern looker-on Lendl, the dominant player of the 1980s, applauded him. And in the end, as so often on grass, the big points decided. The reigning ATP-Champion from Hamburg got them, Haase didn’t. The 27th NOVENTI OPEN still has one of their favourites running for the title. The other, record-holding Roger Federer, will play his opener on Tuesday.