Roger Federer beats rising German player Alexander Zverev at Rome Masters

first_imgRoger Federer put his full array of shots on display in a 6-3, 7-5 win over Alexander Zverev in the second round of the Italian Open on Wednesday.After withdrawing from last week’s Madrid Open with lower back pain, Federer looked sharp from the start against the 44th-ranked Zverev, using his backhand slice drop shot especially well.The 19-year-old Zverev, considered a potential future Grand Slam champion, often found himself running down shots wide in the alleys. At one point, the 6-foot-6 (1.98-meter) German was pulled so far off the court he ended up in the lap of a line judge then hugged the official after Federer put away an easy volley.On the first point of the final game, Federer surprised Zverev by following his second serve to the net and Zverev lost his footing as he attempted to chase down Federer’s volley. The German fell to the clay, dirtying his shorts and shirt, and had to go over to his chair to dust himself off.Kerber, Azarenka stunnedIn women’s action, Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber and fourth-seeded Victoria Azarenka each lost.Eugenie Bouchard, the 2014 Wimbledon runner-up, beat the second-seeded Kerber 6-1, 5-7, 7-5. Irina-Camelia Begu, ranked 35th, defeated Azarenka 6-3, 6-2.Azarenka said she was still affected by a back injury that prompted her to withdraw in Madrid.”I thought I was OK and was ready to play and came back, so I’m just disappointed,” Azarenka said. “It’s just unfortunate that I can’t play my best tennis.”advertisementAlso, 11th-seeded Timea Bacsinszky defeated Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine 6-2, 6-4.Back to No. 2 in the rankings this week, Federer is attempting to take the title at the Foro Italico for the first time. It’s his 16th apppearance in Rome and he’s a four-time runner-up.Federer eyes Lendl recordFederer will next meet 13th-seeded Dominic Thiem, who beat Joao Sousa of Portugal 6-3, 6-2.Federer needs one more win to pull level with Ivan Lendl for second on the Open Era career match wins list with 1,071. Jimmy Connors is No. 1 with 1,257 wins.Federer is in a tough half of the draw that also features top-ranked Novak Djokovic and seven-time Rome champion Rafael Nadal each of whom were playing later on an overcast day in the Eternal City.Rome is the last major warmup for the French Open, which starts May 22.last_img read more