Andy Murray took it to the clay at the Stockholm Open Saturday, beating top seed and defending champion Alexander Zverev of Germany 7-6 (4), 7-6 (3).
Murray rallied to win the tiebreaker in the first set and dominated the match from then on, getting four break points in the first game and making a host of good returns on his own serve to keep Zverev at bay.
Zverev, who dropped his serve three times, was nearly always in Djokovic mode from the baseline as he took more than 90 percent of his first serves in the match. He also won his service games at the start of every set to nullify Murray’s aggressive approach.
In the second set, Murray broke early to go up 3-1 before Zverev got the only break back in the tiebreaker.
Murray, who hadn’t played on clay in nearly two years before his victory in Madrid last month, next faces Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman, who beat Belgian David Goffin 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 in their third-round match.
Zverev received a code violation for repeated time violations in the first set, allowing Murray to dictate the playing pace. The German tried to speed things up in the second set, but Murray got two breaks of serve in the first two games. Zverev didn’t win another game in the match.
“My focus was not there. I just didn’t move as well as I should have,” Zverev said. “On clay you always need to adjust, and I was not able to do that. Andy made me do things I wasn’t feeling comfortable with.”
Sweden’s Johansson sets first round win
Johansson, who opened the season with two titles in Asia, got a second straight shutout victory with a 6-0, 6-0 rout of Brazilian qualifier Roberto Carballes Baena.
The world No. 47 took almost an hour to finish off his opponent in the quarterfinals, making 14 aces and winning all 36 points on his first serve.
Johansson will next face the winner of Saturday’s match between No. 15 Andrej Martin of Slovakia and Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta.
Puerto Rico tennis player Eusebio misses out on title
Puerto Rico’s doubles champion and Wimbledon semifinalist Eusebio Silva lost in the first round of the Stockholm Open after losing a three-set doubles match against Donald Young and Thanasi Kokkinakis.
Silva and his partner Guillermo Garcia-Lopez defeated Young and Kokkinakis 7-6 (5), 6-7 (4), 6-3.
In the second round, the Brazilian looked rusty, not winning a single break point and hitting only six winners compared to 22 for the Australians.
“I started slowly and Donald and Thanasi started to play better. I think that’s what happens when you play with a partner who doesn’t know you so well,” Silva said. “I tried to be aggressive, but I was not able to do it as I normally do. I put myself out of position too much.”
Like Robles, Silva has not played in two months after sustaining a knee injury in Madrid.
Robles, a semifinalist in this year’s Australian Open, and Silva will play a doubles match in Stockholm.
Copyright Associated Press