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Zverev vs Istomin ATP Marrakech Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: Top seed, Zverev takes on Istomin in Marrakech opener

Leye Aduloju in ATP Tour 9 Apr 2019
  • Alexander Zverev vs Denis Istomin is live from Marrakech on Tuesday, 9 April from 3:30pm local time/ 3:30pm BST
  • First tour level meeting between Zverev and Istomin
Alexander Zverev

Alexander Zverev opens his campaign at the Grand Prix Hassan II in Marrakech on Tuesday when takes on Uzbekistan's Denis Istomin in the first round.

Zverev is playing ATP Marrakech for the first time, having taken a wildcard into the tournament. The German is clearly seeking to build some momentum heading into the heart of the clay-court season, following a rather disappointing spell on hard courts.

Zverev is very short on matches in 2019, as he has played only four tournaments all season, putting together an 8-4 record. He had plenty of spare time in March, as he won just one match at Indian Wells and Miami combined.

The German ended last season on the best possible note, winning his biggest title at the Nitto ATP Finals, but the expected kick-on hasn't happened, with the world No. 3 struggling for form through the course of the opening months of the season.

Zverev opened the 2019 campaign at the Hopman Cup in Perth, but he could not get anything going, losing three of the four men's singles matches he played. The 10-time ATP World Tour titlist then sustained an ankle injury on the eve of the Australian Open, but he went ahead to play in Melbourne, and crashed to Milos Raonic in the fourth round. He played for Germany in the Davis Cup at the start of February, but pulled out of a scheduled appearance in Rotterdam, citing the ankle injury.

The 21-year-old returned to the tour in Acapulco at the end of February, where he lost to Nick Kyrgios in the final, but he slipped into more ordinary results after that- beaten by Jan-Lennard Struff in the third round at Indian Wells- a tournament where he struggled with a viral illness- and by David Ferrer in the opening round in Miami, where he was defending champion.

Zverev will hope for much better results on clay, a surface on which he has excelled in recent years. He claimed a Masters 1000 title in each of the last two seasons (Rome 2017 and Madrid 2018), and made his maiden Grand Slam quarter-final at Roland Garros last season. A fine clay-court campaign in 2018 also included a title run in Munich, a runner-up finish in Rome, and a semi-final in Monte Carlo.

Can he reproduce those kind of results on the red dirt this season?

Before he heads onto the European clay, Zverev stops by in Marrakech this week, where he faces Denis Istomin in his opening match on Tuesday.

Istomin has struggled badly for wins this season, as he’s won just two main draw matches all year. Those victories were in the first rounds of the New York Open (against Mackenzie McDonald) and Delray Beach (against Feliciano Lopez).

He has lost first-round matches in Pune, the Australian Open, Sofia, and Indian Wells; and lost out in the qualifying rounds at the Miami Open. Even a step down to the lower-level Challengers did not help his fortunes, as he fell at the first hurdles at the Indian Wells and Phoenix Challengers.

As a consequence of his poor run of results, Istomin has been outside the top-100 for the most parts of 2019. 

Istomin is arguably best known for his epic five-set victory over Novak Djokovic in the second round of the 2017 Australian Open, but the 32-year-old hasn't just been about that as he possesses two tour-level titles and has a career-high ranking of 33rd, a position he attained in 2012. Istomin has ended eight of the last nine seasons inside the top 100, with the only exception being 2016, when he slipped to a year-end mark of 121st.

He rose as high as 60th in the world last year, a mark he touched in January and then in September, highlighting the inconsistencies in his campaign. His best result was a runner-up finish in Kitzbuhel (lost to Martin Klizan), while he made only two tour-level quarter finals outside that, in Brisbane and Stuttgart, and was down at No. 92 in the world by the end of the year. That's despite a couple of strong results on the Challenger Tour, as he won titles in Chicago and Almaty in September and October respectively. (He had so much to defend around that period as he had won Chengdu around the same time in the previous season, and made quarter finals in Istanbul and Metz).

Tuesday's meeting with Zverev will be the first main draw encounter between the two, but they did meet in the qualifying rounds in Cincinnati in 2015, Zverev winning in three sets.

Zverev has had his troubles this year, from health to form issues, and that keeps a dangerous floater like Istomin in the game, but the German should be able to outhit the world No. 104, and take his place in the second round.

Alexander Zverev vs Denis Istomin is live from Marrakech on Tuesday, 9 April from 3:30pm local time/ 3:30pm BST

*Geo-restrictions apply. Streams available to customers with an active balance 

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Zverev vs Istomin ATP Marrakech Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: Top seed, Zverev takes on Istomin in Marrakech opener

Alexander Zverev makes his Marrakech debut on Tuesday when he takes on Uzbekistan's Denis Istomin. Read our preview, predictions and stream the match live online.

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