Are you surprised as I am that the American contingent is turning up in Melbourne? It’s not a surprise in terms of how good this generation of tennis players are, but in terms of how many are in such top form at the same time. Guys like Michael Mmoh and Brandon Nakashima have been bubbling in the junior circuit before they came to the pros, so US tennis deserves it’s flowers. Mike is a second generation athlete whose dad was an Olympian for Nigeria.Sascha Zverev is no stranger to the Olympics being a gold medalist in Tokyo 2020 but had a forgettable end to 2022 with a major injury. Always a great server mostly because of his stature, he had a strong first set on the back of a strong first serve. As the match went on however his double fault count ratcheted up to cost him dearly. Watch vintage Zverev at 3-2(40-15) to consolidate break of serve. Another advantage of his height, ability to reach out for those corner placed balls. Mmoh came into his own in the second set. What I observed on his serve is that he likes to go wide and flat.
Watch second set 4-3 Mmoh 40-30 on his racquet. Mike didn’t put the wide enough. Not complaining, it gave us the chance to see a brilliant rally. His somewhat languid style may not be everyone’s cup of tea but he stayed in the point long enough to find the opening. That drop slice was majestic. Deserved second set win. So poor on second set was Sascha , he won just 37% on the second try. Watch third set 5-3 Mmoh (40-15) set point, that cross court forehand “had desperately need to get in the set” all over it. Understandable, he is way overdue a grand slam but patience is a virtue. It is so true in tennis that if you lose a big rally , the following one is likely to go that way because of the mental damage inflicted by the first. Check out 2-1 fourth and ultimately final set first point and 4-2 Mmoh (40-30). You just know it’s your day when you get those net cords , those tight net plays. Mmoh deserves this victory and now plays fellow American Jeff Wolf in Round 3.