Sydney’s Chris O’Connell has loved the very best win of his unheralded profession, beating Olympic champion Alexander Zverev in entrance of the German’s adoring Munich followers within the BMW Open clay-court occasion.
On a bitingly chilly, damp Thursday lunchtime on a sluggish clay courtroom, the Australian produced an excellent efficiency to energy to a 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 win in 4 minutes below two hours, fairly ruining Zverev’s twenty sixth birthday.
Zverev wasn’t ranked as excessive as Diego Schwartzman, who was the world No.13 when O’Connell put paid to the Argentine in final yr’s Australian Open.
But this victory over the two-time ATP Finals champ Zverev, one of many largest names within the sport even when he has dropped to No.16 within the rankings, represented O’Connell’s most interesting hour.
“Yeah, for positive,” beamed O’Connell, after being requested on courtroom whether or not it was the largest victory in his six years as a professional.
“It is undoubtedly onerous taking part in Zverev right here in entrance of his house crowd. There was an superior environment – it was tremendous chilly, however I am blissful to get by way of it.
“I am undoubtedly not ready to play on this climate – that is the coldest I’ve ever performed in, it was powerful! Took me some time to get warmed up.”
The Sydneysider, ranked 82 on the planet, was all the time on the entrance foot, trying comfy on the clay, incomes an early break after which dominating the tie-break after Zverev had fought again.
Within the second set, O’Connell took a 4-2 lead solely to be once more pegged again by some brilliance from Zverev, twice champion on this occasion who’s been battling to search out some consistency since his return from the ankle harm he sustained finally yr’s French Open.
After breaking again for 4-4, Zverev once more stuttered, serving a fifth double fault earlier than being overwhelmed by a blinding cross-court winner from O’Connell and a ripped forehand down the road because the Australian regained the benefit.
The 26-year-old then confirmed no indicators of nerves as he served out to like for the match, with Zverev ultimately giving up the ghost with a feeble backhand into the online.
O’Connell will subsequent transfer on to a quarter-final assembly in opposition to Italian qualifier Flavio Cobolli.
Within the week’s largest males’s clay-court occasion on the Barcelona Open, Australian No.1 Alex de Minaur has additionally made the quarter-finals after a walkover in opposition to Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov, who pulled out earlier than their last-16 tie with sickness.
It means de Minaur has reached the last-eight for simply the lack of a single recreation, after a first-round bye and a second-round 6-0 6-1 trouncing of Russian Alexander Shevchenko.
On Friday, he’ll face an enormous check in opposition to Stefanos Tsitsipas, who was ominously spectacular in beating Canadian Denis Shapovalov 6-3 6-2.