NEW YORK, Sept 2 (Reuters) - Fifth seed Alexander Zverev fought off a spirited challenge from American wildcard Brandon Nakashima to claim a 7-5 6-7(8) 6-3 6-1 victory in the second round of the U.S. Open on Wednesday.
Zverev did not drop serve in a solid all-round display but was stretched to four sets by teenager Nakashima, ranked 223 in the world.
“I didn’t get broken even though my second serve was shaky a little bit,” Zverev said. “My backhand was shaky too. I will have to go practise some more.”
Zverev was on the front foot from the start against Nakashima but failed to convert any of his first three break point opportunities in the fifth game.
The German was not to be denied at the fourth attempt as he went on to clinch the opening set before Nakashima, who reached the U.S. Open junior semi-finals last year, came out fighting with some relentless baseline hitting.
Nakashima, who is coached by 1987 Wimbledon champion Pat Cash, earned two set points in the second with a delicate drop shot but a lapse in concentration allowed Zverev to recover and force a tiebreak.
Despite taking a 5-0 lead, Nakashima needed a further five set points and a Zverev double fault to level the contest.
Zverev needed to find another gear in the third set and he delivered with an early break before moving 2-1 ahead in clinical fashion.
With momentum firmly on his side, Zverev broke Nakashima’s serve three more times to book a place in the third round. (Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru Editing by Toby Davis)
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