With his back against the wall, Alexander Zverev found a way to reach the second round at the Australian Open Tuesday when he clawed past Peruvian lucky loser Juan Pablo Varillas in five sets.

Trailing by two sets to one, the German rose to the occasion, rallying past the World No. 103 4-6, 6-1, 5-7, 7-6(3), 6-4 to earn his first tour-level win of the season.

Zverev tore several lateral ligaments in his right foot during his Roland Garros semi-final clash against Rafael Nadal in June and only returned to Tour at the United Cup last month. Competing in his third match of the year, the World No. 12 refused to go away against Varillas, striking 69 winners to seal victory in four hours and nine minutes.

[ATP APP]

“I am extremely happy because I missed this over the past seven months,” Zverev said. “This match alone pays off for all the hard work and suffering that I have had. To win in front of this kind of crowd again. I can’t wait for the rest of the tournament. No matter what happens from now, the tournament is already a success for me.”

The 25-year-old, whose best result at the hard-court major was a run to the semi-finals in 2020, will next play American Michael Mmoh or Frenchman Laurent Lokoli.

In other action, Diego Schwartzman advanced to the second round in Melbourne for the seventh consecutive year when he downed Ukrainian qualifier Oleksii Krutykh 6-4, 6-7(6), 6-3, 7-6(5). The 23rd-seeded Argentine will next play J.J. Wolf after the American defeated Australian Jordan Thompson 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, 7-5 in three hours and 27 minutes.

The 14th seed Pablo Carreno Busta also moved through, beating Argentine Pedro Cachin 7-6(4), 6-1, 7-6(3). The Spaniard, who has reached the fourth round at the major three times, will face Frenchman Benjamin Bonzi in the second round.

Generated by Feedzy