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Tennis pro Koepfer swears and wins in Stuttgart

From the clay courts in Paris, the tennis pros are switching to grass this week. The Wimbledon preparation begins. Dominik Koepfer puts up a spirited – and successful – fight in Stuttgart at the start

In a thrilling first round match, Davis Cup player Dominik Koepfer fought his way into the round of 16 at the tennis tournament in Stuttgart. At the start of the grass court season, the 30-year-old from the Black Forest defeated the higher-ranked Chinese player Zhang Zhizhen 4:6, 7:6 (7:5), 7:6 (8:6). Koepfer had two match points against him in the tie-break of the third set and a bit of luck in the end.

Koepfer initially got off to the better start and was one break ahead in the first set. Then the world number 44 from China improved. Koepfer, on the other hand, lost his service game twice in succession and was audibly grumbling. When it already looked like a disappointment for him, Koepfer fought his way back

Successful start to Wimbledon preparation

The left-hander was now less annoyed and, after a back-and-forth in the deciding set, made perfect progress after 2:36 hours. “As a dwarf here on the tour, it’s not so easy to get the serve through,” said the 1.80-meter-tall tennis pro. He is a very emotional player. “Here at home, you try to get something extra out of it,” explained the 30-year-old, whose family was watching in the stands.

In any case, the first match on grass is never easy. “It’s one or two points in the two tiebreaks. He got a bit nervous there,” said Koepfer, commenting on the fact that his opponent had served a double fault on match point.

Yannick Hanfmann mastered his first task much quicker. The man from Karlsruhe needed just 62 minutes for his 6:3, 6:3 win against Duisburg wildcard Henri Squire. He now faces a difficult challenge against last year’s American winner Frances Tiafoe.

Tournament before the cancellation of the German number one

The €812,235 event in Stuttgart is once again being used as a preparation tournament for this year’s Grand Slam grass court classic in England (July 1 – 14). French Open finalist Alexander Zverev is the top seed in the tournament tableau. However, the German number one will most likely not start on grass until next week in Halle, Westphalia.

After losing the final against the Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz in Paris, Zverev declared: “The chances of me playing in Stuttgart are just as high as the chances of me going out and winning the final.”

After a walk-through, the opener for the number one seed was scheduled for Thursday. Last year’s Stuttgart finalist Jan-Lennard Struff will be in action on Tuesday (not before 4.30 p.m.) against the Italian Flavio Cobolli

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