Even an hour and a half into his shock first round at the Australian Open, Jan-Lennard Struff was still struggling for explanations. “I am very disappointed,” said the 30-year-old Warsteiner. The second seed in Germany started the first Grand Slam of the tennis season with very high expectations. After a solid performance in the ATP Cup, Struve also wanted to go far at the Australian Open. But then he was suddenly thwarted by Australian wildcard owner Christopher O’Connell.
6:7 (2:7), 6:7 (5:7), 1:6 was said a little over two hours later from Struve’s point of view. “I was hoping to take advantage of the ATP Cup,” Struff said. But on Court Seven at Melbourne Park, he was unable to capitalize on his performance in the team competition. In the ATP Cup, he scored important points for Germany against Canadian Milos Raonic and Serbian Dusan Lajovic, and was also convinced by losing three tight sets to Russian strongman Andrei Rublev. In addition, you can count on the Sauerlander in doubles a lot.
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But against O’Connell all of this suddenly disappeared. “It was just a disaster today,” Struve admitted in a daze. From the start he couldn’t take the risk. And when he was in the tiebreak for the first set of his serve, which has been good so far, he let go for a little while, the group suddenly vanished.
Struve tried to stay positive and got a set ball in the second round. But when he didn’t change it and lost again soon after in the tiebreak, frustration and frenetic activity took over the actual candidates.
“I couldn’t believe it because I played so well in the ATP Cup,” Struve said, a little desperate. “I searched and searched today, but I couldn’t find a way,” said the 37th man in the world. “I invested a lot in preparation. That is why it hurts today.”
Since Yannick Hanfmann also lost shortly thereafter, only Alexander Zverev and Dominic Kupfer were among the men from a German perspective. Zverev will meet American qualifier Maxime Crissy in Game Two of the evening session on Wednesday (around 11am CET/Eurosport), and Kupfer will face former title favorite and US Open champion Dominic Thiem of Austria.
Victoria Asarinka is also no longer in the tournament
Hanfmann had no chance against the powerful Russian Rublev in 3:6, 3:6, 4:6. The 29-year-old Karlsruhe had to admit defeat to the ATP Cup champion after 1:42 hours. “It’s a level I don’t get very often in training or in a match. It was a good experience and I still have to work on it,” Hanfmann said after the lesson.
Like Rublev, compatriot Daniil Medvedev and world number two Rafael Nadal had no problems with their early opponents. Canadian Medvedev defeated Vasek Pospisil 6:2, 6:2, 6:4, Nadal defeated Serbian Laszlo Djeri 6:3, 6:4, 6:1.
Surprisingly, Victoria Asarenka is no longer in the tournament. The Belarusian, the two-time Melbourne champion, who as a failed Angelique Kerber on Monday spent two weeks in a strict pre-tournament quarantine, lost to Jessica Pegola of the USA 5:7, 4:6. Defending champion Sofia Kenin of the USA advanced Last year’s runner-up Garbine Muguruza from Spain. (dpa)