The first corona case at the US Open caused quite a stir on the fifth day of the tournament and almost caused Alexander Zverev to cancel the third-round match.
Alexander Zverev made the round of 16 of the US Open despite dubious circumstances. Because his French opponent Adrian Mannarino was in contact with his professional colleague Benoit Paire, who tested positive for the coronavirus days ago, the authorities in New York initially banned Mannarino’s action.
Game delayed for several hours
After intensive debates between the American tennis club USTA and the New York State Department of Health, the 32-year-old was allowed to play the game against Zverev several hours late. The 23-year-old from Hamburg won the third round against Frenchman Adrian Mannarino (No. 32), who started almost three hours late, with 6: 7, (4: 7), 6: 4, 6: 2, 6: 2 and may continue from his dream of the first Grand Slam title.
“The situation was not easy for us, but we are professionals and have to deal with it,” said Zverev, who initially assumed he would not be playing that day. When the match started, Zverev had serious trouble finding the match and committed seven double errors in the first set.
The first match point decided the match
Then the German number one improved against the uncomfortable opponent and equaled after 1:45 hours. In the third set, Zverev quickly led 3-0, but after a medical time-out, Mannarino only let the tension rise again for a short time. Zverev no longer ran into serious problems against the battered opponent, after 2:52 hours the semi-finalist of the Australian Open decided the match with his first match ball.
In the round of 16 at the first Grand Slam tournament after the mandatory Corona break, the number seven in the world now meets Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina. This means that Zverev and former tournament winner Angelique Kerber have the best two German tennis professionals in the round of 16. The 32-year-old from Kiel won 6: 3, 6: 4 against Ann Li and now faces Jennifer Brady again with an American. .
Extra quarantine for multiple players
The partly not very transparent corona regulations have been criticizing for days. Paire had tested positive for the coronavirus and was excluded before the tournament. The test result had far-reaching consequences for the contacts of the 31-year-old Frenchman. A group of no less than eleven players, including Mannarino, but also the Belgian Kirsten Flipkens, had to be extra quarantined within the so-called bubble, but was allowed to stay in the tournament. In any case, players and supervisors are only allowed to move between the hotels and the facility.
Unlike a week ago at the Masters tournament, which was moved from Cincinnati to New York, the contacts of someone who tested positive were not immediately excluded from the tournament. The rules had been changed, tournament director Stacey Allaster went on to explain, noting that everything had been agreed with the New York state health authorities.
Becker: “A strange day”
But on Friday it was suddenly said that Mannarino should be excluded as one of Paire’s contacts. “We were initially told that we would rather not play,” said Zverev. Djokovic also became involved and, he says, even tried to talk to New York governor Andrew Cuomo about the situation.
In any case, at the beginning of the afternoon Zverev sat bare-chested in front of his box at Arthur Ashe Stadium, watching the meeting between Denis Shapovalov (Canada) and Taylor Fritz (USA) and no longer seemed to expect that he would play. It wasn’t until around 11.10 p.m. German time that Zverev and Mannarino entered the Louis Armstrong Stadium for their game. “That was a strange day, the players have to deal with it first,” said German tennis legend Boris Becker on the Eurosport TV channel. Two hours and 52 minutes later, however, Zverev reached the eighth finals.
Jan-Lennard Struff missed the last sixteen after a clear defeat against world number one Novak Djokovic. The 30-year-old from Warstein had to admit defeat to the three-year-old Serb 3: 6, 3: 6, 1: 6 and suffered the fifth defeat in the fifth comparison. After only 1:43 hours of play, Djokovic won the first game of the night session.
Last week, Djokovic had already won the quarter-finals of the Masters tournament that had moved from Cincinnati to New York against Struff. After his 26th victory, Djokovic now takes on Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta.