Alexander Zverev showed his rivals he meant business at the Australian Open when he put in an efficient performance on Wednesday, beating Australian John Millman 6-4, 6-4, 6-0 to reach the third round in Melbourne.
The reigning Nitto ATP Finals champion was strong on serve during his one-hour 59-minute win, firing 14 aces and winning 85 percent (47/55) of points behind his first bout against a resilient Millman, who was backed by a vocal crowd at Rod Laver Arena.
“Sport needs atmosphere and people,” Zverev said when asked about the audience at the Rod Laver Arena. “It doesn’t matter if you’re for or against me, I enjoy the atmosphere and I enjoy being on the track for all of you. I think spectators bring the emotions, and sport without spectators is like sport without emotions, so I think it’s incredible to play in front of everyone.”
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The German, who has yet to drop a set in Melbourne, found his range as the match progressed, making seven unforced errors in the third set compared to 15 in the opener. Zverev then takes on Radu Albot after the world No. 124 took down Australian wildcard Aleksandar Vukic 6-4, 7-6(4), 6-4.
With his win, the world number three has extended his perfect 9-0 record against players in their own Grand Slams. The 19-time touring champion defeated Australian Alex Bolt in the third round in Melbourne in 2019.
Zverev now leads Millman 3-0 in their ATPHead2Head series and has advanced to the third round six years in a row. The 24-year-old’s best finish at the first major of the year came in 2020 when he reached the semifinals.
“My tactic today was to hit the ball as hard as possible,” Zverev added. “Hopefully I can hit it even harder the next game and then the next game and then even harder against Rafa!”
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In a lively start, three breaks were exchanged, two of which went in the direction of Zverev. The German’s timing was slightly off in the opening set from baseline as he made 15 unforced errors to 14 winners. However, he kept Millman at bay to take the lead after 47 minutes.
The German then had to work hard in the second set, delivering two breakpoints at 3-2, 15/40, with two big first serves to hold. Millman won one point more (27-26) than Zverev in the set, but the world number three was the better player in the pressure moments as he grabbed more control.
Zverev produced his best tennis of the match in the third set, dictating from the baseline as he crushed forehands and hammered backhands to outsmart Millman and advance.
Millman made his eighth appearance on home soil in Melbourne but couldn’t find the win the Australian public craved as he tried to reach the third round for a third time.