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Zverev vs Munar tennis live streaming, preview and predictions – Zverev faces fellow 1997-born player in Marrakech second round

Hannah Wilks in ATP Tour 10 Apr 2019
  • Alexander Zverev faces Jaume Munar in the second round of the Grand Prix Hassan II
  • Zverev vs Munar is live from Marrakech at 4.30pm local/BST
Alexander Zverev (PA Sport)

World no. 3 Alexander Zverev faces fellow 1997-born player Jaume Munar for a place in the quarterfinals of the Grand Prix Hassan II in Marrakech.

Top-seeded wildcard Alexander Zverev looks to reach the quarterfinals of the Grand Prix Hassan II for the first time as he takes on Jaume Munar in Marrakech on Tuesday.

Zverev was not initially scheduled to start his clay-court season this early, but took a late wildcard into the Grand Prix Hassan II, a 250-level tournament which usually struggles to attract the top stars but has been boosted in 2019 by the presence of another wildcard, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who has already booked his place in the quarterfinals, and by the late entry of the world no. 3.

Alexander Zverev (PA Sport)
Marrakech wasn’t originally in Zverev’s plans, but not much about the season so far has gone to plan for the German, who injured his ankle before the Australian Open and ended up losing in straight sets to Milos Raonic in the round of 16. Things looked up for him when he made the final in Acapulco, where he was denied the title only by Nick Kyrgios, but he suffered an ill-timed bout of illness before the Indian Wells Masters and made an early exit at the hands of Jan-Lennard Struff, going on to lose his opening match in Miami – where he was defending runner-up points – to the soon-to-retire David Ferrer.

All told, Zverev was 10-4 coming into Marrakech, and it makes sense that, having played comparatively little tennis in the first three months of the season, the world no. 3 should be keen to get off to an early start on clay. Especially since he has so many points to defend. Zverev went a brilliant 21-4 on clay in 2018, winning Munich and the Madrid Masters, finishing runner-up at the Rome Masters, making the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters semifinals and reaching his first major quarterfinal at the French Open. All told, 2,570 of his total 6,040 ranking points come from clay-court events in 2018.

Under the circumstances, playing Marrakech to get some wins under one’s belt before the bigger events of the clay-court season start in earnest with the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters next week looks like an understandable decision and Zverev made a bright start, beating Denis Istomin 6-4, 6-4 in comfortable style on Tuesday.

Zverev hit 13 aces, won all but five points played behind his first serve and saved all three break points he faced in the 82-minute match, which should please even his famously stone-faced coach Ivan Lendl.

‘This was my first clay match of the season,’ Zverev said afterwards. 

‘I’m very happy that I won it. I only arrived here last night, but I had been practicing well in Monaco. The atmosphere was great, the fans gave me a lot of support. This is my first time in Morocco, and the people are amazing. The tournament is very well-organized, and it’s a pleasure to be here.’ 

Next up for Zverev is a man very much of his generation – the 1997-born Jaume Munar.

Jaume Munar (PA Sport)
Despite having only been born two weeks or so after Zverev, world no. 60 Munar lags considerably behind the German in career accomplishments so far. The right-hander from Mallorca, who faces the unenviable task of having to try to follow in the footsteps of Spain’s golden but aging ‘Armada’ generation, comes into Marrakech at a career-high ranking, having broken into the top 100 for the first time last June following back-to-back Challenger titles on clay in Prostejov and Caltanissetta. He went on to make the semifinals of the 250 ATP Tour event on clay in Kitzbuhel and succeeded in qualifying for the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan, where he reached the semifinals before losing to Alex de Minaur, and also lost the third-place match to Andrey Rublev. (Zverev, of course, had qualified for the Next Gen ATP Finals, but played the Nitto ATP Finals instead and won – underlining how far ahead of almost all of the players of comparable age he is).

Munar went 0-2 on Australian hard courts in January, forced to retire against Fabio Fognini in the first round in Melbourne, but did make the quarterfinals of the 250-level Maharashtra Open in Pune, and he went on to have a fruitful Golden Swing, making ATP 250 quarterfinals in Cordoba and Buenos Aires and a 500 quarterfinal in Rio de Janeiro. His results in March were little to boast about – he lost to Alexei Popyrin in the first round of Indian Wells and to Kevin Anderson in Miami, although he did take a set from the sixth seed – but he should be much more dangerous on clay, where he opened his Marrakech campaign with a 6-1, 7-6(3) victory over qualifier Facundo Bagnis.

This will be the first meeting between Zverev and Munar, and is only Munar’s fourth clash with a top-10 opponent after he lost to Dominic Thiem last year in Barcelona and to Anderson in Pune and Miami in 2019. Zverev is unlikely to inspire particular reverence in a player of the same age, but he is currently a cut above Munar and if he can produce anything like the serving he did against Istomin, should be into the quarterfinals of the Grand Prix Hassan II in short order. 

Zverev vs Munar Grand Prix Hassan II tennis is live from Marrakech on Thursday at 4.30pm local/BST

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Zverev vs Munar tennis live streaming, preview and predictions – Zverev faces fellow 1997-born player in Marrakech second round

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