French Open: Zverev battles past Herbert in five sets

Zverev carves out a 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (5), 4-6, 6-4 victory in three hours and 59 minutes to move to the third round.

Alexander Zverev celebrates after overcoming his second-round opponent, Pierre-Hugues Herbert, in five sets. - AP

German sixth seed Alexander Zverev battled back from a dreadful start to outlast home hope Pierre-Hugues Herbert in a fluctuating five-setter in the French Open second round on Wednesday.

Zverev, runner-up at this month's US Open, spent three hours and 59 minutes to carve out a 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (5), 4-6, 6-4 victory in front of a small crowd on Court Philippe Chatrier.

The 23-year-old was nowhere in the first set and was a point away from trailing 5-1 in the second before he began to get to grips with the doubles specialist.

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Herbert will rue throwing away a lead in the third-set tiebreak with some loose shots but pounced superbly in the fourth set when Zverev's level dropped again. Even when Zverev moved 3-0 ahead in the decider there was to be another twist as Herbert, ranked 78th in singles, battled back to square it off at 3-3.

 

Zverev, with coach David Ferrer watching on, responded to move 5-3 ahead only to falter when serving for the match. Herbert served a nervy double-fault in the next game though and Zverev seized his chance to secure victory.

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