Zverev clay-court horror show continues with Italian Open exit

Italy’s Matteo Berrettini after winning a point to Alexander Zverev of Germany at the Italian Open in Rome on Tuesday. (AP)
Updated 15 May 2019
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Zverev clay-court horror show continues with Italian Open exit

  • The German has yet to win a trophy this season and stands 4-6 on clay this spring

ROME: Germany’s Alexander Zverev crashed out of the Italian Open on Tuesday with a 7-5, 7-5 loss to Italian wild card Matteo Berrettini in the second round.
“The match that I played was horrendous,” said Zverev after the game which took 1hr 48min on the red clay of the Foro Italico.
Zverev, the 2017 winner and runner-up in Rome last year to Novak Djokovic, has had a terrible start to the clay-court season with the French Open starting on May 26.
The 22-year-old lost his Madrid Open title last week, falling in the quarterfinals of both Madrid and Munich to Stefanos Tsitsipas and Cristian Garin respectively.
The German has yet to win a trophy this season and stands 4-6 on clay this spring.
Zverev had been seeded fourth in the final clay-court warmup before Roland Garros, and was playing his first game having received a first-round bye.
Last year, Zverev reached the final in Rome beating Berrettini there in their only previous meeting.
But the 33rd-ranked Italian has been on form capturing his second ATP title on clay in Budapest last month, and reached the final in Munich.
Zverev started with a break in the second set, but lost this advantage immediately.
The 33rd-ranked Italian survived four break points, breaking the German in the 12th game to close 7-5 to the delight of the home crowd.
Berrettini will play Argentine Diego Schwartzman, who eased past Yoshihito Nishioka 6-1, 6-4 in 73 minutes.
Belgian David Goffin rallied from a set down to beat former French Open champion Stan Wawrinka in three sets and advance to the second round.
The 28-year-old Goffin won through 4-6, 6-0, 6-2 in 1hr 55min against the three-time Grand Slam winner to set up a meeting with Argentine seventh seed Juan Martin Del Potro for a place in the third round.
Ninth seed Marin Cilic beat Italian wild card Andrea Basso 6-1, 7-5 as Australian Nick Kyrgios needed three sets to get past Russian 12th seed Daniil Medvedev.
“I knew it was going to be tough today because I haven’t played much on clay,” said Kyrgios, who next plays Norwegian qualifier Casper Ruud.
Portgual’s Joao Sousa saved four match points in the deciding set to battle past American Frances Tiafoe 6-3, 6-7 (3/7), 7-6 (7/4).
Sousa, who also trailed 1/4 in the deciding set tie-break, will play third seed Roger Federer in the second round.
Eight time Rome winner Rafael Nadal will open his tournament against Jeremy Chardy in the second round after the Frenchman beat compatriot Richard Gasquet 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 in a match suspended overnight on Monday.


CEO of Qatar’s BeIn TV channel, former Athletics chief under probe for alleged corruption

Updated 22 May 2019
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CEO of Qatar’s BeIn TV channel, former Athletics chief under probe for alleged corruption

  • Investigating magistrates are considering charging Yousef Al-Obaidly with active corruption
  • There were allegation of corruption in the bidding process for this year’s World Athletics Championships in Doha

PARIS: The boss of Qatari television channel BeIn, Yousef Al-Obaidly, and ex-athletics chief Lamine Diack, have been under investigation since March over alleged corruption in the bidding process for this year’s World Athletics Championships in Doha, sources told AFP on Tuesday.
Investigating magistrates are considering charging Al-Obaidly with active corruption, while Diack will act as a key witness in the matter and will be charged with passive corruption.
The championships take place at the Khalifa International Stadium between September 27 and October 6.
Earlier this week AFP learned that Diack and his son Papa Massata Diack may go on trial in a separate matter, for allegedly obstructing sanctions against Russia for doping in return for payments.
Prosecutors have recommended Diack, who was president of the International Association of Athletics Federations from 1999 to 2015, be tried for corruption and money laundering.