Alexander Zverev is making winning on the ATP World Tour as a teenager look routine this week at the BNP Paribas Open. The #NextGen star, 18, earned his second win over a Top 30 player in as many matches on Tuesday, beating the No. 16 seed Gilles Simon of France, 6-2, 6-2 in one hour and seven minutes. On Sunday, Zverev dismissed the No. 23 seed Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria 6-4, 3-6, 7-5.
“I had a great day today,” Zverev said. “Someone like Gilles, if you don’t hit him off the court he’s going to be tough to beat. He’s going to be running and fighting all day. So, I knew what I had to do, and I think I did it pretty well.”
Zverev won 80 per cent of his first-serve points, hit 14 winners to 13 unforced errors and had 11 break points overall, five of which he converted. Simon, meanwhile, landed about half of his first serves and hit more than three times as many unforced errors, 32, than winners, 10.
“Beating someone like Gilles 6-2, 6-2 is something that gives me a lot of confidence,” Zverev said. The unseeded German now advances to the fourth round, where he’ll face fourth seed Rafael Nadal.
Japan’s Kei Nishikori matched his best showing in Indian Wells on Tuesday. The No. 5 seed fought off American Steve Johnson 7-6(6), 7-6(5) to move into the fourth round.
In the second set, it was Nishikori who was unable to close it out on serve. He served for the match at 5-3 only to be broken and needed three match points to close out the tie-break 7/5.
“There was a couple unforced errors. It was windy, too so I kind of lost my rhythm,” Nishikori of the second-set lapse. “Also he was playing good, using good slice, and it was deep. He played a couple of good points, too. I just tried to focus again.”
Nishikori, who also made the fourth round in the desert last year before losing to Feliciano Lopez will next play American John Isner after his 6-4, 7-6(4) win against Adrian Mannarino of France.
“My return, it’s going to be the key, for sure,” Nishikori said of playing Isner. “I couldn’t really step in today, so I will try to play more aggressive tomorrow, and try to be patient. He’s a big guy and I think I have more advantage on my groundstrokes, so I will try to use more forehands.”
Isner won all 34 first-serve points and lost only four second-serve points. He also drilled 15 aces to advance.
“I didn’t lose too many points on serve,” Isner said. “Everyone knows I can do that. It’s the other areas of my game I need to shore up.”