French Open: Zverev overcomes slow start to reach second round in Paris

Zverev trailed 4-1 in the opening set before he turned the screw on Court Philippe Chatrier, advancing to the next round with a 7-5, 6-2, 6-4 win over Dennis Novak.

Alexander Zverev of Germany during his first round match against Dennis Novak of Austria at the French Open on Sunday.   -  Getty Images

US Open runner-up Alexander Zverev overcame a slow start to launch his French Open challenge with a 7-5, 6-2, 6-4 victory over Austrian Dennis Novak on Sunday.

US Open runner-up Zverev, who had not played on clay since last year, trailed 4-1 in the opening set before he turned the screw on Court Philippe Chatrier, whose roof remained open despite a light drizzle.

“Close the roof!” screamed one of the few spectators during the second set.

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It made Zverev smile but did not affect the German's focus as he set up a meeting with either France's Pierre-Hugues Herbert or American qualifier Michael Mmoh.

“I didn't play any claycourt before this, it's my first one (this year) and it was not easy. It was rainy and cold, I needed to get used to it, said the 23-year-old Zverev.

“He's a player who is good on this surface. He grew up with (fellow Austrian) Dominic Thiem. All they did was play on this surface.”

Addressing his critics, Zverev added: “Some say that I don't do well at Grand Slams, I'm proving them wrong this year. I'm hoping for a deep run here.”

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Zverev, who never made it past the last-eight at Roland Garros, reached the semifinals at the Australian Open before losing to Thiem in the US Open final earlier this month.

Men's Results:

First Round (Important):

Jannik Sinner, Italy, def. David Goffin (11), Belgium, 7-5, 6-0, 6-3.

Sebastian Korda, United States, def. Andreas Seppi, Italy, 6-2, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3.

John Isner (21), United States, def. Elliot Benchetrit, France, 6-4, 6-1, 6-3.

Kei Nishikori, Japan, def. Daniel Evans (32), Britain, 1-6, 6-1, 7-6 (3), 1-6, 6-4.

Marco Cecchinato, Italy, def. Alex de Minaur (25), Australia, 7-6 (9), 6-4, 6-0.

Norbert Gombos, Slovakia, def. Borna Coric (24), Croatia, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Benoit Paire (23), France, def. Kwon Soon Woo, South Korea, 7-5, 6-4, 6-4.

Stan Wawrinka (16), Switzerland, def. Andy Murray, Britain, 6-1, 6-3, 6-2.

Diego Schwartzman (12), Argentina, def. Miomir Kecmanovic, Serbia, 6-0, 6-1, 6-3.

Alexander Zverev (6), Germany, def. Dennis Novak, Austria, 7-5, 6-2, 6-4.

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