ATP

Zverev bounces back from Australian Open exit while Monfils crushed in Montpellier

By Sports Desk February 03, 2022

Top seed Alexander Zverev returned to winning ways after a surprise fourth-round Australian Open exit when he won his first match at the Open Sud de France on Thursday.

The German world number three was bounced out at Melbourne Park by Denis Shapovalov in straight sets, but he navigated his way safely past Mackenzie McDonald to reach the quarter-finals in Montpellier.

A largely dominant Zverev won 6-2 7-6 (7-5) to set up a clash with Adrian Mannarino in the last eight, and the 24-year-old highlighted how important he felt it was to quickly get back in the swing of things after disappointment in Melbourne.

"I'm going to give myself the best chance to do well in this tournament. But obviously, I'm happy to be back here," he said of the tournament he won in 2017.

"This is a place I really enjoy coming back [to]. After the Australian Open that I had, I wanted to play tournaments before my scheduled tournaments in Acapulco, Indian Wells and Miami. I said Montpellier is the perfect fit for that, and I'm happy to be here."

The same cannot be said for Gael Monfils, who suffered a crushing 6-1 6-2 defeat to Mikael Ymer on home soil.

The Swede was practically flawless throughout, winning a whopping 83 per cent of points on first serve and 89 per cent on second, with Monfils never even sniffing out a single opportunity to break back.

Richard Gasquet is a force to be reckoned with in Montpellier and reached another quarter-final, seeing off South Korean's Kwon Soon-woo 7-5 6-4.

Frenchman Gasquet reached six consecutive finals in Montpellier while in his prime years, being crowned champion in 2013, 2015 and 2016, and finishing runner-up in 2014, 2017 and 2018. Now 35, his last quarter-final appearance in an ATP main tour event came in August at Winston-Salem.

Gasquet's fellow Frenchman Mannarino sank the hopes of defending champion David Goffin, scoring a sparkling 6-4 6-2 victory.

Fourth seed Nikoloz Basilashvili, who lost twice to Andy Murray in Australia last month, this time fell to world number 152 Damir Dzumhur of Bosnia-Herzegovina, sliding to a 6-1 5-7 6-2 defeat. Basilashvili, the world number 21, now has a record of played five, lost five, for the 2022 season.

At the Tata Open Maharashtra in Pune, there was a surprise defeat for Russian top seed Aslan Karatsev. Karatsev won a title in Sydney last month before losing to Mannarino in the third round of the Australian Open, and in his first match since that disappointment he slumped 6-2 7-6 (7-3) to Swedish qualifier Elias Ymer.

Three seeds joined Ymer in the quarter-finals, with Jiri Vesely, Emil Ruusuvuori and Stefano Travaglia all making smooth progress without dropping a set. Vesely faces Ruusuvuori on Friday, while Travaglia awaits Ymer.

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