Nishikori advances, Zverev eliminated early in Barcelona
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Second-seeded Alexander Zverev lost to 81st-ranked Nicolas Jarry in the Barcelona Open on Tuesday after failing to convert a match point, while former champion Kei Nishikori and third-seeded Dominic Thiem easily advanced to the third round.
Zverev lost 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (5) to Jarry, a 23-year-old Chilean who was given a lucky loser spot in the tournament. The third-ranked German cruised in the first set but was broken late in the second and then three times in the third before falling in the decisive tiebreaker after more than 2 ½ hours for his fifth loss in seven matches.
It was the fifth win of the year for Jarry, who saved seven break points in total and a match point when Zverev led 6-5 in the third set.
“It means a lot. It’s one of the biggest victories of my career,” Jarry said. “It was a really, really tough match. I was trying to get everything out of me but take in the energy from the crowd. That was amazing. I had a lot of support from a lot of Chilean guys and some Spaniards. It was a great match.”
Thiem, the finalist in Barcelona two years ago, cruised to a 6-3, 6-3 win over Diego Schwartzman, the Argentine who had to go through qualifying after missing the deadline to enter the main draw.
Nishikori, the Barcelona champion in 2014 and 2015, defeated American Taylor Fritz 7-5, 6-2 for his 14th victory of the year. The fourth-seeded Japanese player lost his serve early but recovered with two breaks in each set to stay in contention for his second title of the season after winning in Brisbane in January. He had lost his first match in his last two tournaments, in Miami and Monte Carlo.
Nishikori is the only player other than Rafael Nadal to win the Barcelona title in the last eight years. The second-ranked Nadal, an 11-time champion in Barcelona, will play Leonardo Mayer in the second round on Wednesday.
Fabio Fognini, who won the Monte Carlo title after eliminating Nadal in the semifinals, will make his debut in Barcelona against Spaniard Nicola Kuhn, who on Tuesday defeated qualifier Federico Delbonis 7-6 (3), 4-6, 6-2.
Jan-Lennard Struff advanced to the third round by upsetting 10th-seeded David Goffin 7-6 (3), 6-3, while Jaume Munar defeated 14th-seeded Frances Tiafoe 6-4, 6-3. In first-round results, David Ferrer defeated Mischa Zverev 6-3, 6-1, Malek Jaziri beat Guido Andreozzi 6-7 (3), 6-4, 6-2, and Albert Ramos-Vinolas ousted Cameron Norrie 6-2, 6-2.