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Sock the biggest name to fall as Zverev bounces back

Jack Sock ponders his early qualifying exit
by Dan Imhoff at Qualifying
Monday 17 June 2013

Being on the wrong end of a 6-0, 6-0 drubbing to Roger Federer on Centre Court before your home crowd is humiliating in anyone's language, but for German Mischa Zverev, any lingering seeds of doubt were nowhere to be seen on Monday.

The 156th-ranked leftie consigned the disappointment of last week's quarter-final loss on the grass at Halle to the distant reaches of his memory on his way to upsetting American second seed Jack Sock (pictured above) 6-2, 6-2 in the opening round of Wimbledon men's singles qualifying.

The upset leaves the men's qualifying draw without its top two seeds on Day 1, after top-seeded Israeli Dudi Sela bowed to Frenchman Stephane Robert 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-2.

When it was suggested Zverev's opening round match on the grass at Roehampton was not as daunting as his last he was quick to see the lighter side to his infamous defeat.

"I was waiting for that one," he laughed. "It wasn't bad (in Halle), the score was just bad. I didn't play phenomenal (in that match). Okay I didn't play great, but still I don't want to like ... Roger he's able to give bagels to pretty much anyone in this world and he's shown that in the past so I don't feel too bad about it."

Just don't remind him he was actually only the second player to have failed to get on the board against the great Swiss (after Gaston Gaudio's Shanghai Masters Cup dismissal in 2005).

It was an impressive turnaround for the Moscow-born Zverev, playing on a surface suited to his game, where he could constantly rush Sock with his serve-volleying.

With an authoritative overhead smash bringing up match points at 5-2 in the second set, it appeared last week's confidence-sapping was about to creep back into his conscience.

Sock fought off the first, running down a dropshot to make the pass, before staving off two more match points, whipping forehand winners past the net-hugging Zverev.

Sticking to his gameplan though eventually paid dividends; the German putting away back-to-back overheads to progress.

"I was of course sad or whatever (after Halle), but an hour or so later I was like, 'so what, I've played quarters in Halle, I have Wimbledon qualifying waiting for me and there's no need to be down and too disappointed. Anything positive that you can take, you just take it with you and go to London."

And being in the best position to pass judgment, how does he rate Federer's form coming into his Wimbledon title defence.

"Yeah, his game is (as good as ever)," he said. "He has the potential to play unbelievable tennis and ... I sometimes don't understand how he can lose to someone."

Overcoming a gap of 77 places in the rankings, 33-year-old French journeyman Robert, pulled off arguably the upset of the day against Sela.

Having come within two points of sending the diminutive Israeli packing in the second-set tiebreaker, Robert held his nerve to secure a double break and close out the third, leaving Portugal's third seed Joao Sousa as the highest remaining seeded player.

Sousa made a solid start to his qualifying campaign, sending Frenchman Nicolas Renavand packing 6-4, 6-3.

American Tim Smyczek was the first of the seeds to progress, the eighth seed taking care of Spaniard Adrian Menendez-Maceiras 6-2, 6-4.

German seventh seed Jan-Lennard progressed over Uladzimir Ignatik, of Belarus, 6-3, 6-3, while Czech 20-year-old Jiri Vesely, fifth seed for qualifying, saw off an early challenge from Australian John-Patrick Smith in an all-leftie showdown to move through 7-6(3), 6-3.

American fourth seed Wayne Odesnik had less difficulties in beating Brazilian Thiago Alves 6-1, 6-4, with sixth-seeded countryman Denis Kudla also progressing comfortably, 6-3, 6-4 over Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert.

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